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CMV – Solving the immunity mystery


Professor Rajiv Khanna

Professor Rajiv Khanna

QIMR researchers are investigating a common virus that may reduce our ability to fight infection as we age.

Professor Rajiv Khanna and his team from QIMR’s Tumour Immunology Laboratory are investigating the impact of cytomegalovirus (CMV) on the body and its immune system.

“CMV can be with you your entire life and have little effect, but we are keen to know if having this virus could be the difference between reaching your 75th birthday or making it well into
your 80s,” Professor Khanna said.

“Many people don’t even know about CMV. We believe having the virus can have a significant impact on your immune system as you age and can tire the body’s immune system, possibly leaving you susceptible to other infections as well.

“CMV can affect between 50-80% of the population and presents as mild flu-like symptoms.

“CMV exists in such a large percentage of the population, so my team and I are keen to better understand the virus and the long-term health implications of CMV infection.

“We are looking for healthy male and female volunteers of any age, but in particular over the age of 60, to give us a small sample of blood.

“We will then be looking at the participant’s blood sample to better understand the impact of CMV on the immune system and their ability to control other infections and respond to common vaccines such as the seasonal flu vaccination.”

Professor Khanna said that with Australia’s ageing population and ever-increasing life-expectancy, long-term wellbeing and health is an important factor in maintaining quality of life.

“Of course we are all ageing, but Australia has and will have a large population over the age of 65 in coming years. It is therefore a priority to keep people healthy for as long as possible to ensure we are able to live a fulfilling and active life well into our twilight years,” Professor Khanna said.

To participate in Professor Khanna’s research or find out more, please visit www.qimr.edu.au/cmv

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