‘Huge breakthrough:’ Doctors on new RSV shot for infants

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common illness that causes cold symptoms that can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year old in the US. 

The Centers for Disease Control just approved a new injection for infants under 8 months to prevent getting RSV.

It’s being called a ‘huge breakthrough’ by Dr. Edward Lewis of Lewis Pediatrics. He did point out though, this is not an immunization. It’s actually is an injection of antibodies. 

The shot of antibodies is called ‘nirsevimab’, and it lasts for about five to six months and covers kids through the cold season.

Make no mistake, he said this is an expensive injection, with Lewis guessing it will be $500 per shot. But he says to compare that to the cause of catching RSV and going to the hospital. He feels that’s pretty cost-effective.

It’s not clear yet how insurance will cover it, but he feels it should in some capacity. He said so far, this shot has shown minimal side effects: think low fevers or soreness at the injection site. 

Lewis says this shot will keep most kids who catch RSV out of the hospital. 

“The injection —an antibody— provides antibodies to the body. It does not act like an immunization where an immunization will cause the body to produce antibodies. This is just injecting antibodies to fight the infection and prevent it. It is, according to the studies, about 75 to 76 percent effective at preventing hospitalization, so it’s not going to prevent all illnesses, but it’s going to prevent the serious ones which are the ones we want to prevent,” said Lewis.

Dr. Lewis said the best time to get the shot for your infant is going to be in the October-November timeframe to cover them over the winter.

While the CDC has approved the use of this for children under the age of 8 months, children over 8 months can receive the actual RSV vaccine. 

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