(CTN News) – According to a study, babies infected with a winter virus could save over 80% of hospital admissions by receiving just one dose of a novel antibody treatment.
In most cases, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes mild, cold-like symptoms; however, in rare cases, it can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis.
Over 30,000 UK Infants Hospitalized Annually: The Threat of RSV
Every year, RSV causes 20 to 30 fatalities among the more than 30,000 children under the age of five who end up in hospitals in the UK.
As a first-time mother, one parent described the infection with RSV as “very scary” for her son.
Caolan, the eldest son of Lorna and Russell Smith, contracted the virus at the age of eight months and required oxygen therapy during his two emergency hospital admissions.
He is now two years old and very healthy.
I was confused because I was unfamiliar with RSV. He was quite listless, and his breathing was laboured because of his elevated temperature. “It caused a great deal of worry and tension,” Lorna expressed.
The Southampton family is hoping that their one-month-old son Rian can receive the RSV antibody injection through the National Health Service (NHS) if it is authorized.
Half of the eight thousand children included in the Harmonie trial across Germany, France, and the United Kingdom received only one dosage of the monoclonal antibody medication nirsevimab. The infants were all under the age of twelve months.
The findings, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that hospitalizations due to RSV were decreased by 83% among individuals who received the vaccine, while admissions for all chest infections were decreased by 58%.
Both groups saw similar, moderate side effects.
Jessica and Ellie Parker, born to Kate and Matt, were twins, and they participated in the Southampton study at the tender age of three months.
I thought that if one of them had the vaccine, they would have a decent chance of staying healthy throughout the winter,” Kate told the BBC. Despite Jess’s vaccination, both of them were fine.
She described the research outcomes as “fantastic” and added, “If it could prevent thousands of children going into hospital and putting more strain on the NHS during the winter, that would be great.”
Last year, the UK granted a license for the use of Nirsevimab, a drug manufactured by Sanofi.
The government-advising Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended creating an affordable RSV vaccination program for newborns and the elderly.
It states that pregnant women can choose between an RSV vaccine or an antibody shot. According to the committee, both would significantly reduce the number of youngsters admitted to hospitals.
What matters most today is the price the government negotiates for the NHS.
In contrast to vaccines, which cause the immune system to produce antibodies and then take a few weeks to kick in, nirsevimab provides protection right away.
According to Professor Saul Faust, a consultant paediatrician and co-study leader at the University of Southampton, using it in settings comparable to standard clinical practice, this long-acting antibody could save thousands of infants from hospitalization.
This data is crucial for the UK to make informed decisions about its future national RSV vaccination program.
Nirsevimab, a medicine for infants approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July, is now available in several regions of Spain.
How to spot RSV
•A stuffy or runny nose is the first symptom of rhinovirus, which may develop into a dry cough, fever, and even difficulty breathing in extreme cases.
•Ibuprofen or infant paracetamol will be effective at-home treatments for most youngsters because it is gentle.
If your child is not eating regularly, is breathing rapidly, or has a persistently high temperature, you should contact your doctor or seek medical help.
You can tell your child is struggling to breathe if they are pale, sweating or if you see the muscles under their ribs pulling in with each breath. In such cases, call 999 immediately.