This past flu season, three main viruses were going around: influenza, coronavirus, and respiratory syncytial virus. We’ve heard plenty about the flu and COVID, but what is respiratory syncytial virus? Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) is a common lower respiratory tract infection that causes mild symptoms for the general public but can be deadly in infants and adults. Symptoms of RSV infection include a runny nose, a decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, and more. These are also how the virus is transmitted from person-to-person.
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There is no cure for RSV, nor is there any licensed prevention (such as a vaccine) for RSV. The race to first develop an RSV vaccine has been ongoing in big pharma, and it seems Pfizer is emerging on top. Pfizer has been conducting massive trials to test the safety and efficacy of this vaccine.
Pfizer enrolled around 37,000 participants in their RSV studies and found that the single dose of their vaccine reduced the risk of RSV illness by almost 86%. Pfizer submitted all this data to the United States Food and Drug Administration, and on Tuesday, February 28, FDA’s advisory committee voted in favor of approving the vaccine. This is a historic moment, as there has never been a vaccine for RSV. However, the FDA has not officially made a decision yet.
Glasko-Klein-Smith is right behind Pfizer in conducting tests on a potential RSV vaccine. Results from their study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2023. There were a total of 24,966 participants in the study, with half of the participants receiving the vaccine and half of the participants receiving a placebo.
If Pfizer’s vaccine is approved, it would be for use in older adults, one of the highest-risk populations for RSV. The next few months are critical in seeing who can develop successful RSV vaccines and get approval for it.