Perspective: Evolving Concepts in the Diagnosis and Understanding of Common Variable Immunodeficiency Disorders (CVID)

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2020 Aug;59(1):109-121. doi: 10.1007/s12016-019-08765-6.


Common variable immunodeficiency disorders (CVID) are the most frequent symptomatic primary immune deficiency in adults. At this time, the causes of these conditions are unknown. Patients with CVID experience immune system failure consequent to late onset antibody failure. They have increased susceptibility to infections and are also at risk of severe autoimmune and inflammatory disorders as a result of immune dysregulation. An increasing number of monogenic causes as well as a digenic disorder have been described in patients with a CVID phenotype. If a causative mutation is identified, patients are removed from the umbrella diagnosis of CVID and are reclassified as having a CVID-like disorder, resulting from a specific mutation. In non-consanguineous populations, next-generation sequencing (NGS) identifies a genetic cause in approximately 25% of patients with a CVID phenotype. It is six years since we published our diagnostic criteria for CVID. There is ongoing debate about diagnostic criteria, the role of vaccine responses and genetic analysis in the diagnosis of CVID. There have been several recent studies, which have addressed some of these uncertainties. Here we review this new evidence from the perspective of our CVID diagnostic criteria and speculate on future approaches, which may assist in identifying and assessing this group of enigmatic disorders.


Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Common Variable Immunodeficiency / diagnosis*
  • Common Variable Immunodeficiency / genetics
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics*