NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There was big news in the medical world this week as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a RSV vaccine.
The virus proved to be devastating during last fall’s so called “tripledemic,” filling hospital beds around the nation.
“I think it’s really exciting news,” said Dr. Albert Shaw, with Yale Medicine.
The first FDA-approved drug, Arexvy, was decades in the making through research and trials.
It just got approval for use in people 60 years and older. The virus is most dangerous for very young children and older adults, especially those with comorbidities.
“There’s probably about a six to eight% death rate in older adults if they get RSV pneumonia,” Shaw said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now has to give the vaccine final approval.
According to the CDC ,each year almost 200,000 older adults are hospitalized with RSV in the U.S. — and 14,000 die.
“I think there will be doses available in the fall and hopefully this will help,” Shaw said.
He said there are pediatric versions of the RSV vaccine in development.
That would be welcome news for medical providers. Last fall, both Yale Children’s Hospital and Connecticut Children’s were flooded with children infected with the virus — some in intensive care, some in hallway beds awaiting rooms.
An FDA advisory panel is scheduled to meet to talk about approving the RSV vaccine for pregnant women.
“The idea is that this will protect not only the mother but also through transfer of antibodies over the placenta will protect her child as well,” Shaw said.