RSVing for site zero
Despite decades of research, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remains a highly prevalent childhood pathogen without an approved vaccine.1 There is a marketed prophylactic-Synagis palivizumab-to prevent severe disease caused by RSV in at-risk infants, but the passive immunization provided by the antibody does not last from season to season, and its high cost precludes its use in other patient populations. Now, a team from the NIH has used structure-based design to generate RSV vaccines that showed strong neutralizing activity in both mice and macaques.2
The next step is picking a lead vaccine to advance into GMP production and clinical trials.
RSV is the most common cause of hospitalization in children under 5 years of age and results in more than 3 million hospital stays each year. RSV mortality in the elderly is comparable to that of influenza virus.3,4
There are multiple barriers to developing RSV vaccines. These include the very young age of most patients, the lack of a good animal model that recapitulates human RSV infection, and the