Pfizer’s experimental vaccine for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has shown promising results in preventing severe infections in infants. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the vaccine was 82% effective in preventing severe RSV infections in infants born to mothers who received the vaccine during the second half of their pregnancy. The study evaluated 3,570 infants and was stopped early due to the vaccine’s efficacy.
Severe vs. Non-Severe
The vaccine, called RSVpreF, met one of the two main goals of the late-stage study. It was 82% effective in preventing severe lower respiratory tract illness, such as the need for ventilator support or very low oxygen levels, in infants in the first 90 days of life. However, the vaccine failed to meet the second main goal of reducing non-severe illness in infants.
RSV is a common respiratory virus that affects children and can cause severe illness, especially in infants. About 58,000 to 80,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to RSV infection every year in the United States, according to government data.
Currently Under Review
If approved by the FDA, Pfizer’s vaccine could become the first maternal vaccine available to prevent RSV in infants. The vaccine is currently under review by health regulators in both the United States and Europe. The FDA is expected to decide on its use by August.
Sanofi and AstraZeneca are also developing a single-dose antibody, nirsevimab, for RSV prevention in infants, which is under FDA review.
New Hope Arises
Pfizer’s vaccine’s effectiveness was observed in preventing severe illness occurring within three months in 6 infants whose mothers received the vaccine, compared with 33 infants from the placebo group who contracted serious RSV infections. Additionally, the shot was 69.4% effective in preventing severe infections in the first 180 days, with 19 infants born to mothers in the vaccine group experiencing severe illness compared to 62 infants in the placebo group.
The promising results of Pfizer’s vaccine have brought hope for preventing severe RSV infections in infants, reducing the number of hospitalizations and saving countless lives. Further research and development in this field are essential to combat the spread of RSV, especially among infants and children.
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