CDC recommends infants get newly approved RSV drug, UAB expert says impact could be life changing

CDC recommends RSV shot for infants
Published: Aug. 6, 2023 at 5:24 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In a significant move to safeguard infants from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now advocates administering a newly approved preventative RSV shot for all babies under eight months. This vaccine has been proven effective in protecting infants from the lung-attacking virus, which is a leading cause of hospitalizations in children under the age of one.

The RSV injection, recently sanctioned by the CDC, is a breakthrough in medical science and can be administered as soon as possible to all eligible infants. According to an expert from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Children’s Hospital, this new vaccine not only offers protection against RSV but also significantly reduces the incidence of bronchiolitis.

Bronchiolitis, a terrifying lower respiratory tract infection that can impede an infant’s breathing, has caused a surge in hospitalizations, particularly over the last couple of years. “Their sternum sucking into their backbone, their ribcage, the skin between it is sucking every time their nose is going out because they can’t get enough oxygen,” explained Dr. Kimberlin from UAB and Children’s Hospital, describing the scene faced by parents of affected infants.

Dr. Kimberlin emphasized the potential of this new injection to completely eradicate RSV, making it a game-changer once it becomes widely available. The vaccine employs monoclonal antibodies, a treatment method that has gained familiarity through its use against COVID-19. A single shot of this vaccine is effective for the entire five or six months of the RSV season.

Although there was a previous RSV vaccine development attempt in the 1960s that proved ineffective, the current vaccine’s use of monoclonal antibodies has shown promising results. Dr. Kimberlin expressed hope that new parents will be spared the harrowing experiences associated with RSV thanks to this groundbreaking medical advancement.

Dr. Kimberlin anticipates the vaccine will provide some relief during the upcoming RSV season this fall, with the most substantial impact expected in the year 2024.

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