Updated
October 16th, 2017

RSV Vaccine Candidate Protects Babies From Respiratory Infections

Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine Enters Second Clinical Trial

Pregnant women in the UK are among the first in the world to participate in a vaccine clinical trial focused on protecting babies against a virus which causes life-threatening lung infections.

This vaccine candidate is designed to generate proteins in the mother’s blood which can pass to babies in the womb.

Once born, these antibodies will hopefully protect children for a minimum of three months.

Dr. Chrissie Jones, Senior Lecturer and Consultant in pediatric infectious diseases at Southampton Children's Hospital in the UK said, "This is the first time in 50 years of research that a potential RSV vaccine has been developed for use in pregnancy to prevent RSV disease right from birth, so we are delighted to be a part of such an exciting international study."

This clinical trial – being conducted worldwide in up to 8,000 women - builds on a previous smaller trial, in 50 pregnant women which provided initial safety data of the vaccine.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two.

But RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.

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In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

Additionally, RSV can lead to severe lung infections such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia in older adults.

During the winter months in the UK, RSV causes epidemics responsible for up to one in six hospital admissions in children less than a year old.

In the U.S., RSV infections generally occur during the fall, winter, and spring.

Now, doctors at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust are offering women receiving antenatal care at the Princess Anne Hospital the chance to participate in a trial with an investigational RSV vaccine.

This clinical trial, which is also being run at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, St Georges NHS Foundation Trust in London and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and will involve between 4,600 to 8,600 women worldwide, is being funded by Novavax Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company based in the United States, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

For more information, contact the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility on 023 8120 6856 or visit www.ovg.ox.ac.uk/.