Scientists have announced that the world’s first vaccine against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) could be ready in a matter of months
RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children.
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As the virus can be more dangerous for babies and very young children, the new vaccine will target pregnant women in their latter stages of pregnancy with the aim of providing their babies with protection from birth.
Big phrama company GlaxoSmithKline say they are is now just months away from publishing results which it expects will show that its latest RSV jab will be safe and effective.
MSN reports: Data is due in early 2022, and the vaccine is expected to be approved and in use by next winter.
Dr Jamila Louahed, the vice-president of vaccine research and development at GSK, told The Telegraph that the pharmaceutical company has been working towards this moment for decades, and is now on the verge of a breakthrough.
“We have to wait for the data to be certain, but I am quite comfortable saying there is a high probability that the vaccine will work,” she said.
The jab is a traditional vaccine, a sub-unit protein design which mimics the virus itself. This method is used for many other diseases, such as Hepatitis B, and there will be two forms for the two susceptible populations.
Infants will be protected from birth because the vaccine is given to pregnant women in their third trimester, and antibodies made by the mother will be passed to the child in the womb via cord blood in the umbilical cord and placenta.
“For the baby, the burden of disease starts very early, so as soon as the baby’s born he can be infected with RSV,” Dr Louahed said.
“It’s an innovative approach where immunisation of the mother, at a time where they don’t have any risk, can really protect the baby as soon as possible.”