Scientists have been trying to develop an RSV vaccine for decades.
The US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the first RSV vaccine in the US
Scientists have been trying to develop an RSV vaccine for decades after previous high-profile attempts failed.
The vaccine, made by the pharmaceutical company GSK, is intended for the elderly. Pfizer and Moderna are also developing similar RSV vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has yet to weigh in with specific recommendations, which are expected in June. GSK expects to have enough vaccines to meet demand in time for the fall and winter respiratory disease season.
GSK said it had “millions of doses ready to ship”.
Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement: “Older adults, especially those with underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease or immune system weakened, are at high risk of serious illness from RSV. Today’s approval of the first RSV vaccine is a significant public health achievement in preventing a potentially life-threatening disease and reflects the commitment the FDA’s continued efforts to facilitate the development of safe and effective vaccines for use in the United States.
RSV is a viral infection that causes mild illness in most people. however, it can be dangerous for the elderly and some young children. RSV is a common cause of lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD), which affects the lungs and can cause life-threatening pneumonia and bronchiolitis, according to the FDA.
Each year, between 60,000 and 120,000 seniors are hospitalized with RSV.
RSV circulation is seasonal, typically beginning in the fall and peaking in the winter. Pharmaceutical companies are also working on RSV vaccines for young children.