The QuantiFERON-CMV (QF-CMV), is the commercially-available blood test to allow physicians to monitor a person’s risk of CMV disease. Most commonly used in the transplant setting, QF-CMV may predict which transplant recipients are at increased risk of CMV disease after transplant surgery.

Reportedly, a ‘serology test’ is usually used for the pre-transplantation assessment of CMV. In a post-transplantation setting, where serology tests are limited because they cannot diagnose ‘active’ CMV disease, CMV testing is completed using tests that detect the presence of the virus (viral load testing). Such tests are currently used to guide patient care and treatment.

Current guidelines indicate that monitoring transplant recipients’ cellular immune responses to CMV can help a physician predict which transplant recipients are at increased risk of developing CMV disease. A physician’s ability to monitor the CMV immune status of transplant recipients may be useful in guiding the prevention and treatment of CMV disease after transplantation.

The recently-published ‘International Consensus Guidelines on the Management of Cytomegalovirus in solid organ transplantation,’ are the guidelines which suggest that an ideal immune monitoring assay should assess the quantity and function of a transplant recipient’s CD-4+ and CD-8+ T-cells and that such an assay should also: be able to measure interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), be simple to perform, cost-effective, and reproducible, have a rapid turnaround time, allow for specimens to be easily shipped to specialized referral laboratories.

QuantiFERON-CMV test (QF-CMV), a simple blood test, meets virtually all the criteria specified by the guidelines. As per the study, the new monitoring tool measures a person’s CD-8+ T-cell immune response to CMV. It is the only standardized, commercially-available immune monitoring assay, specific for CMV.

Atul Humar, associate professor, director of Transplant Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Canada, said: “For transplant recipients whose immune systems are already compromised by anti-rejection medications, the emergence of immune monitoring of CMV-specific T-cell responses in transplant medicine is an exciting development.

“Immune monitoring may potentially allow physicians not only to gauge a patient’s risk of developing post-transplant CMV disease, but also to assist in determining the most appropriate management pathway on an individual, patient-by-patient basis.”