A first vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been approved by the US FDA for use in adults aged 60 years and older. The vaccine – called Arexvy – was developed by GSK and is intended for the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease often caused by RSV.

RSV is a highly contagious virus that causes infections of the lungs. It can cause severe infections such as bronchiolitis – the swelling of the small airways of the lung – or pneumonia which is an infection of the lungs. The US CDC reports that RSV leads to between 60,000-120,000 hospitalisations, and 6,000-10,000 deaths among adults aged 65 years and older in the US each year.

GSK’s trial data showed the vaccine’s overall efficacy was 82.6% against RSV in adults aged 60 years and older. Additionally, it showed an efficacy of 94.6% in older adults who have at least one underlying medical condition, such as certain cardiorespiratory and endocrine-metabolic conditions.

Peter Marks, MD

Source: FDA

Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said: “approval of the first RSV vaccine is an important public health achievement to prevent a disease which can be life-threatening”.

According to a BBC report, the vaccine is awaiting final approval from the US CDC before it can be rolled out to the public.

Further reading:

GSK Press Release: US FDA approves GSK’s Arexvy, the world’s first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for older adults.

FDA Press Release. FDA Approves First Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Vaccine.