Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis is the most common ocular opportunistic complication and a serious cause of vision loss in immunocompromised patients. Even though, a rise in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals seems to be a major factor responsible for the prevalence of CMV retinitis, the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) significantly reduced the incidence and severity of CMV retinitis. Thorough evaluation of the patient's immune status and an exact classification of the retinal lesions may provide better understanding of the disease etiology, which would be necessary for optimizing the treatment conditions. Current drugs such as ganciclovir, valganciclovir, cidofovir and foscarnet have been highly active against CMV, but prolonged therapy with these approved drugs is associated with dose-limiting toxicities thus limiting their utility. Moreover development of drug-resistant mutants has been observed particularly in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Continuous efforts by researchers in the industry and academia have led to the development of newer candidates with enhanced antiviral efficacy and apparently minimal side effects. These novel compounds can suppress viral replication and prevent reactivation in the target population. Though some of the novel therapeutics possess potent viral inhibitory activity, these compounds are still in stages of clinical development and yet to be approved. This review provides an overview of disease etiology, existing anti-CMV drugs, advances in emerging therapeutics in clinical development and related recent patents for the treatment of CMV retinitis.
Keywords: Antivirals, cytomegalovirus, patents, retinitis, therapeutics, treatment, HIV treatment, fomivirsen, Ganciclovir, Foscarnet