Assessing Quality of Anti-viral Responses in Ageing – (AQUARIA)

Study code

Lead researcher
Dr Mark Wills

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
University of Cambridge

Researcher type

Speciality area

Recruitment Site


We are trying to understand in detail how the white blood cells of the immune system control a virus called Cytomegalovirus (CMV). About half of all adults in the UK have CMV, and most of them do not know that they have the virus. From time to time the virus enters the person’s saliva or other body fluids, giving the virus the opportunity to pass from one person to another. When a person acquires CMV, the virus persists in the person’s body for life and hardly ever causes any subsequent health problems, however in individuals with suppressed immune responses active CMV infection can become dangerous. The virus is kept under control by the person’s immune system, as the virus persists for life we would like to understand how this may affect the immune system as people age. By including healthy participants with or without the virus in this study, we hope to understand how the immune system controls the virus.  The work from this study may help with the design of effective therapies to target this persistent virus – at present there is no therapy to eliminate persistent CMV infection.