RSV Vaccine Provides Hope
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages, is a major cause of respiratory illness in young children. RSV is highly contagious and can be spread through droplets containing the virus when someone coughs or sneezes. It also can live on surfaces (such as countertops or doorknobs) and on hands and clothing, so it can be easily spread when a person touches something contaminated.
RSV spreads quickly through schools and childcare centers. Babies often get it when older kids carry the virus home from school and pass it to them. Almost all kids are infected with RSV at least once by the time they’re 2 years old. RSV is especially dangerous in those born prematurely or with other respiratory problems.
We now have hope against this highly contagious virus. The first human trials of a new vaccine to prevent a leading cause of serious illness in babies have been a success. The vaccine is still years off, but an RSV vaccine is much needed.
The latest vaccine, developed and initially tested by biotechnology firm Reithera, uses genetic engineering to trick the immune system into thinking that it is dealing with RSV.
This “viral vector” technology is the same as that used in the new Ebola vaccines.
It contains a harmless virus that cannot cause illness, and which has been modified to produce some RSV proteins on its surface.
Although the vaccine is still a few years off, at least now we have hope. RSV has always been considered an important infection and one you would want a vaccine against.