Infections due to resistant human cytomegalovirus (CMV) are an emerging problem, particularly in immunocompromised hosts. When managing such patients, clinicians should be aware of the possibility of developing CMV antiviral resistance, especially while on prolonged therapy or if severe immunosuppression is present. CMV resistance to current antiviral agents is mediated by alterations in either the UL97 kinase or DNA polymerase, encoded by the UL97 and UL54 genes, respectively. UL97 mutations are capable of conferring resistance to ganciclovir, while UL54 mutations can impart resistance to ganciclovir, cidofovir, and foscarnet. If treatment failure is suspected to be due to antiviral resistance, CMV resistance analysis should be obtained. Phenotypic resistance assays performed on clinical isolates measure antiviral susceptibilities directly, but are laborious and time-consuming. Therefore, genotypic resistance analysis has become the more common means of diagnosing CMV resistance. Mutations in UL97 or UL54 may be clinically associated with resistance, but their effect on antiviral susceptibility must be confirmed by marker transfer techniques such as recombinant phenotyping.
Keywords: Cytomegalovirus, cidofovir, foscarnet, ganciclovir, recombinant phenotyping, resistance, valganciclovir, Phenotypic resistance assays, antiviral resistance, antiretroviral therapy, maintenance therapy, nephrotoxicity, immunodeficiency syndrome, bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC), phylogenetic relationships
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