Scientists announced last night that babies can be given a vaccine that reduces their risk of getting sick from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
A stabbing by AstraZeneca and the French company Sanofi has cut hospital admissions in children under the age of one by two-thirds.
The nirsevimab vaccine is given as a single dose and the protection lasts for five months – one full season of RSV.
The results of the phase three trial have been described by the experts who ran the study as a ‘paradigm shift’.
No vaccine for this condition currently exists for the general population, despite decades of research.
In the UK, a shot called palivizumab is given to high-risk babies but it only provides one month of protection, meaning babies need five shots to get one season.
RSV causes coronavirus-like symptoms and is one of the leading causes of hospital admissions in the UK.
It accounts for 29,000 hospitalizations and 80 deaths in children under 5 in the UK each year, and 58,000 hospitalizations and 500 infant deaths in the US.
Newborns can be vaccinated early to reduce the risk of respiratory syncytial virus disease (reservoir)
The nirsevimab vaccine is 74.5% effective in preventing children from getting RSV to the point of needing medical attention. The graph shows the percentage of vaccinated children who did not seek medical care for RSV (yellow), compared with unvaccinated children (blue). The chart inside shows the same data, but on a larger vertical axis
Phase three clinical trials of the RSV vaccine have enrolled 1,490 healthy children in the US and South Africa aged one year and under and entered the first RSV season, which runs from October to March in the UK.
Two-thirds of the infants received the nirsevimab vaccine, while a third received a placebo.
WHAT IS RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common virus that almost all children are infected with by the age of two.
In older children and adults, RSV can cause colds and coughs, but it can cause bronchiolitis in young children.
The virus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can stay on surfaces for up to 24 hours.
Children are still contagious for up to three weeks, even after their symptoms have gone.
RSV accounts for 450,000 GP appointments, 29,000 hospital admissions and 83 child deaths each year in the UK.
In the US, it leads to about 58,000 hospitalizations and 100 to 500 deaths in children under the age of 5.
Nirsevimab is a long-acting monoclonal antibody vaccine that involves the injection of lab-primed proteins to fight the virus.
It does not require activation of the immune system, can take weeks with conventional vaccines, and provides rapid and direct protection against disease.
The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that 12 infants (1.2%) vaccinated required medical attention for respiratory viruses caused by RSV.
Meanwhile, 25 children (5%) in the unvaccinated group needed to see a doctor, four times more than the vaccinated group.
The hospitalization rate of the unvaccinated group was nearly three times higher (1.6%) than that of the vaccinated group (0.6%).
Researchers at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute in Chicago, who are running the trials, say the results show the jab is 74.5% effective at preventing hospitalization in young children.
About a year after enrollment in the trial, 6.1% of vaccinated children had RSV antibodies, compared with 1.1% of unvaccinated children.
Adverse events were reported in 6.8% of those who received nirsevimab and 7.3% of those who received placebo, but most were mild or moderate, including pain at the injection site.
The fact that the rate of side effects is nearly the same means that the vaccine is safe.
Dr William Muller, principal investigator of the study and scientific director of clinical trials at the institute, said: ‘These exciting data suggest that nirsevimab has the potential to protect RSV for all infants. birth, this will be a paradigm shift in approach to this epidemic.
‘We know that RSV has seen a resurgence with the easing of Covid’s public health measures.
This shows us that a broad immunization approach is needed to help reduce the significant global burden that RSV places on infants, their families and their healthcare services. ‘
Source: | This article originally belonged to Dailymail.co.uk