1st RSV vaccine could be approved this summer

(Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Geraldyn Berry
4:30 PM PT – Tuesday, February 21, 2023

A groundbreaking vaccination to shield newborns from RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, may be authorized by August after decades of development.

Pfizer’s Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Vaccine Research and Development, Annaliesa Anderson, Ph.D. made a statement.

“If approved, RSVpreF would help protect infants at their first breath from the devastating effects of this infectious disease, which though well-known, has been particularly evident throughout this RSV season,” Anderson said. “We look forward to progressing the review of Pfizer’s RSV maternal vaccine candidate with the FDA and other regulatory authorities, given its significant potential to positively contribute to global health in the prevention of RSV in infants.”

The announcement was made on Tuesday by Pfizer. According to the vaccine maker, by August 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will decide on whether or not to approve the vaccine after reviewing its application.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RSV typically results in minor, cold-like symptoms but can be dangerous, particularly in young children and in elderly people. Those most susceptible to consequences from RSV include premature infants, young children with weaker immune systems, congenital heart or chronic lung illness, and adults with such conditions.

The protein-based RSV vaccine from Pfizer protects against the disease by immunizing a pregnant woman, who then transfers some protective antibodies to the fetus.

The risk of serious illness is higher in infants who are 12 weeks or younger at the beginning of the RSV season with bronchiolitis and pneumonia being the most common side-effect of the virus.

In an interview with ABC News, Dr. William Gruber, who had been personally working on the RSV vaccine for over 40 years with Pfizer, spoke about the promising preliminary data on their maternal RSV vaccine for newborns.

“Among very young children, particularly those [younger] than 6 months of age, we have a high probability now of protecting against serious illness and hospitalization,” Gruber said. “To be able to be in a position where we have the potential to provide 80% or more protection against serious disease is a dream fulfilled.”