An RSV Vaccine Just Approved by the FDA — Surprisingly Not From Moderna or Pfizer
The world has been waiting for an effective vaccine for RSV(Respiratory Syncytial Virus) for years, and finally, there’s one added to the list. However, the surprise is that it’s not from Moderna or Pfizer like most people would have assumed. Novavax, a biotechnology company, announced on June 10th that the FDA has given an Emergency Use Authorization for its RSV F nanoparticle vaccine (RSVPreF)for use in adults aged 18 years and older.
Novavax’s RSV Vaccine
The RSVPreF vaccine is manufactured using the company’s patented recombinant protein nanoparticle technology, which has also been used in developing its COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine targets the RSV fusion (F) protein, using a genetically engineered protein antigen, which stimulates the immune system to produce a protective response.
The vaccine efficacy was evaluated through several clinical trials, one of which included a phase 2 study in which 4,600 adults aged 60 years and older received either the RSVPreF vaccine or a placebo. The results showed that the vaccine was effective in protecting against RSV-associated lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and hospitalisation.
Why is This a Big Deal?
RSV is one of the most common causes of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children worldwide. Most children will have been infected by the age of two and will typically develop immunity to subsequent infection. Still, RSV can cause severe illness, especially in newborns, premature infants, and infants with existing illnesses such as congenital heart disease or chronic lung disease.
Currently, there’s no vaccine approved for use in infants younger than six months, and given that RSV can cause severe lung disease, death, and long-term impairment in vulnerable patients — especially older adults and those with underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease — an effective RSV vaccine could have a significant impact.
Other Players in the Arena
Novavax’s RSV vaccine may be the next big thing, but it’s not alone in the race for a successful RSV vaccine. In fact, many other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sanofi Pasteur and others are working on developing their own RSV vaccine candidates.
Novavax’s RSVPreF vaccine has been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA for use in adults aged 18 years and older. The vaccine is designed to protect against RSV-associated lower respiratory tract infection and hospitalisation. Though Novavax’s RSV vaccine may be the next big thing, many other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are currently in the arena, working on their own RSV vaccine candidates.
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