Navigation Links
RSV study shows potential for vaccine strategies to protect babies

Research by the University of Warwick indicates that vaccinating families could protect young babies against a common winter virus which can be fatal for infants under six months.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) typically leads to mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older children but can be more serious and even fatal in infants under the age of six months as it can lead to bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

The virus is commonly found all over the world. In the UK, outbreaks generally start in November or December and last four to five months, peaking over the Christmas and New Year period.

According to the Health Protection Agency, in England, 28 per 1000 hospital admissions in children aged under one year were attributed to RSV each year. Globally, the most recent estimates set the RSV pneumonia burden at 33 million cases and up to 199,000 deaths every year.

Up until now it was not clear whether babies under six months were more at risk of an RSV infection leading to severe respiratory disease because it was their first infection and they lacked immunity to the virus, or whether it was down to the age of the babies.

A new University of Warwick-led study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and funded by the Wellcome Trust, has now found that the severe disease risk is principally age-related.

This means the physiological changes associated with growing older such as for example an increase in size of the small airways of the lungs are more important in reducing the risk of developing severe respiratory disease than previous exposure to the disease.

This finding is significant because it shows that increasing the average age that a child is exposed to RSV infection would lead to fewer cases developing into severe respiratory disease.

A way to do this is through vaccination.

Development of a vaccine for the key target age group of newborn babies between 1-3 months of age remains elusive despite 50 years of research. However, several promising candidate vaccines are in the development pipeline that could be given to older children and adults. In the absence of a vaccine for babies, an alternative would be to immunise parents and older siblings of babies who are up to six months old during the period when the virus is most active.

This is known as a 'cocoon' strategy as it does not directly inoculate the baby but instead focuses on those around the infant who are most likely to pass on infection.

Alternatively or in addition, the short term specific immunity that mothers give to their newborn might be extended by vaccination of pregnant women to boost their immunity to RSV, thus increasing the duration of protection in the infant and delaying RSV infection.

Professor Graham Medley from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick said: "RSV causes more respiratory disease and death in children than any other respiratory virus.

"It is very common world-wide, and people are infected repeatedly through life - if you have a 'community virus' in December in the UK, it is probably RSV.

"Children under six months old are at the greatest risk of death from RSV, and this is the first study to clarify why such young children are at risk - is it because they are so young, or is it because infection at this age will be their first infection?

"The answer is that it is because they are so young.

"This means that if we can protect children until they are older before they become infected, then they will be at a lower risk of dying following infection from RSV.

"The really exciting implication is that we don't have to vaccinate the baby to protect the baby. Instead we could vaccinate family members to stop them infecting the child the cocoon strategy.

"Or we could even consider vaccinating all school-children to try and reduce the amount of virus circulating around whole the community."

The study, The Natural History of Respiratory Syncytial Virus in a Birth Cohort: The Influence of Age and Previous Infection on Reinfection and Disease, is based on a cohort of 635 children tracked from birth in Kilifi, Kenya over a period of just under three and a half years.


Contact: Anna Blackaby
University of Warwick

Related medicine news :

1. Study Suggests Vaccine May Help Kids With Brain Cancer
2. Study reveals how cancer drug causes diabetic-like state
3. Coffee Drinking in Pregnancy Wont Lead to Sleepless Baby: Study
4. Lower GI problems plague many with rheumatoid arthritis, Mayo Clinic study finds
5. Veggies Like Broccoli, Cabbage May Help Fight Breast Cancer: Study
6. No Added Cancer Risk From Hip Replacement Materials: Study
7. Reported Decline in U.S. Pneumonia Deaths May Be False: Study
8. Early Study Finds Some Promise for Lung Cancer Vaccine
9. Narcissists Often Ace Job Interviews, Study Finds
10. Sexual objectification of female artists in music videos exists regardless of race, MU study finds
11. Soy may alleviate hot flashes in menopause, large-scale study finds
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor of ... 11 LTS (Long Term Support) into its Q-Suite 5.10 product line. , Making ... with a version of Asterisk that will receive not only security fixes, but ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers travelers, value and care based ... packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin upgrades and special amenities such ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... WorldCare International, Inc., ... the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits Conference was hosted by ... through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held at the Hawaii Convention ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Additional breast cancers ... on mammography, according to a study published online in the journal Radiology. Researchers ... mammography may necessitate a change in treatment. , Breast MRI is the most ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Medical Solutions, one ... for its stellar workplace culture with the company’s Cincinnati office being named a ... Cincinnati office was named a finalist in Cincinnati Business Courier’s 13th annual Greater ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... FRANCISCO , November 26, 2015 ... billion by 2022, according to a new report by Grand ... Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) which demands kidney transplantation is expected ... and cost effective substitute for organ transplantation. --> ... billion by 2022, according to a new report by Grand ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 ... the  "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Competitive Intelligence, ... --> ) has ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Care Market by Type (Dressings, Therapy Devices, Active Wound ... Out-Patient Facility), and Geography - Global Forecast to 2020" ... --> --> The purpose of this ... of the global advanced wound care market. It involves ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: