According to new reports, a respiratory syncytial virus (more commonly known as RSV) vaccination appears ready to aid thousands of people for the first time ever.
It’s been decades in the making, but the FDA has finally approved the vaccine for all adult citizens over the age of 60.
The vaccine might become accessible at US pharmacies and clinics before this fall if it were to be approved by the CDC by the end of this month.
RSV often does not cause a lot more harm than a common cold, but it can be fatal for the elderly, especially for people already diagnosed with other underlying medical problems.
RSV manages to kill over 14,000 seniors annually in the US, and tens of thousands more are hospitalized as a result.
If the virus spreads, young children are also at risk. In the US, severe infections are thought to be the cause of 100 to 500 baby fatalities annually; however, the figure is significantly greater in underdeveloped nations.
It is a significant health issue, which is why efforts to develop an RSV vaccine have lasted for decades without bearing fruit.
The pharmaceutical company GSK’s Arexvy vaccine offers a defense against RSV-induced lower respiratory tract illness (LRTD).
GSK’s Chief Scientific Officer, Tony Wood, says that “Today marks a true turning point in our effort to reduce RSV’s significant burden. Our focus is to ensure elders in the US can access the vaccine as fast as possible and also progress the regulatory review in other countries.”
The ability to produce antibodies from a more in-depth understanding of the protein that RSV employs to merge with and infect cells propelled the development of the vaccine. In recent years, COVID vaccines have also been developed using a similar methodology.
After a nearly 25,000-person experiment in which half of the subjects received Arexvy and the other half received placebos, the vaccine was approved.
Arexvy decreased the risk of RSV-related lower respiratory tract illness by 82.6% and the risk of severe disease by 94.1% in patients 60 years of age or older.
The New England Journal of Medicine has already released the findings of these trials.
FDA’s Peter Marks, explains that “Older adults, especially those with underlying health conditions, such as lung or heart disease or weakened immunity, are at a high risk for severe diseases caused by RSV. Today’s approval of the first RSV vaccine ever is an important health achievement to prevent a disease which can be life threatening.”
According to estimates, RSV costs the US over $1 billion in hospital expenses each year. This vaccine and any subsequent ones should be able to significantly reduce that.
There are several RSV vaccinations under development, including one for expectant mothers.
According to GSK, preparations are currently being made to obtain authorization to provide the vaccine to persons 50-59 years old as well.
We should soon start to witness the advantage in terms of RSV cases since it is anticipated that it will soon be granted the all clear in other nations as well.
Immunologist Barney Graham shared via Nature that “It is a very big deal to have options available to prevent RSV disease.”