Who can get the currently available RSV ‘vaccine’?

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Although clinical trials are currently underway to provide RSV vaccines to pregnant women to protect their future newborns from RSV infections, pediatric specialists have been administering an RSV “vaccine” for years. This vaccine, called palivizumab (Synagis), is not actually a vaccine. It is a preventive injection of monoclonal antibodies that has been available for high-risk babies since 1998.

This therapy is administered as an injectable agent, thus giving it the vernacular term “vaccine”, even though it is not a vaccine nor does it act like one. It is an immune agent that provides antibody protection against serious RSV infections in vulnerable infants. It is given as an injection every month for five months in a row. It was shown to reduce hospitalization by an average of 50% in two large, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that included a total of nearly 3,000 high-risk babies.

Until recently, guidelines for which babies were candidates for the Synagis series of five injections were based on medical and seasonal criteria. The babies had to be:

  • Born prematurely (at or before 35 weeks) and who are 6 months of age or younger at the start of RSV season.
  • You have a chronic lung condition, called bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), that required medical treatment in the last 6 months and you are 24 months of age or younger at the start of RSV season.
  • Born with certain types of heart disease and who are 24 months of age or younger at the start of RSV season.

As you can see, the “RSV season” is now not as clearly delineated as in previous years. Because we now see severely ill infants suffering from RSV infections in the spring and summer months, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released updated guidelines for the use of Synagis any time a particular region experiences an increase in cases of RSV:

“With the change in seasonality seen in 2021 and the current regional variability in RSV cases between seasons, the AAP continues to support the use of palivizumab in eligible infants in any region experiencing similar rates of RSV activity at any time in 2022. to a typical fall. winter season. The AAP recommends starting the standard administration of palivizumab, which consists of 5 consecutive monthly doses.

RSV, or respiratory syncytial (pronounced syncytial)Yes-shul), has been known to be in widespread circulation since the 1950s or earlier. The term syncytium (syn-Yes-shum) refers to the fusion of cells infected by particular viruses, including RSV and SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19. These viruses work by causing respiratory cells to fuse or stick together, making it difficult for the cells of the respiratory system, that is, the small airways in the lungs, to function normally.

This year we are seeing the return of RSV infections, after two years of very low infection rates. It usually circulates between late fall and early spring, presenting as something as mild as a cold or severe pneumonia. In years past, as well as this year, infants thought to be at high risk for RSV-related pneumonia were hospitalized, often placed on ventilators and in pediatric intensive care units to support and heal inflamed lung tissue. .

In mid-October, a month generally considered just the start of an RSV season, pediatric intensive care unit beds filled with RSV patients, requiring many hospitals to refer sick newborns and infants to hospitals in other cities, counties, or even states. . Elective admissions and surgeries for healthier infants and children were being postponed, recalling the early days of the covid pandemic, when hospital beds were filled with patients (mainly adults) suffering from severe covid infections. At a time when hospitals in this country are closing pediatric units entirely, as they are known to be less lucrative than adult beds, the over-resources to care for the vulnerable continue to be upon us.

#RSV #vaccine

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