Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the leading opportunistic viral infection in solid organ transplant patients and is the most common congenitally transmitted pathogen worldwide. Despite the significant burden of disease HCMV causes in immunosuppressed patients and infected newborns, there are no licensed preventative vaccines or effective immunotherapeutic treatments for HCMV, largely due to our incomplete understanding of the immune correlates of protection against HCMV infection and disease. Though CMV species-specificity imposes an additional challenge in defining a suitable animal model for HCMV, nonhuman primate (NHP) CMVs are the most genetically related to HCMV. In this review, we discuss the advantages and applicability of rhesus monkey models for studying HCMV infections and pathogenesis and ultimately informing vaccine development.
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