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MedImmune Presents New Data Demonstrating Increased Risk for Medically Attended RSV in Late-Preterm Infants
Date:5/5/2009

Results Showing Burden of RSV Disease Presented at Pediatric Academic Societies' Annual Meeting

BALTIMORE, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- MedImmune today announced results from a recent study it sponsored, performed by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, CA, assessing risk factors for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection requiring medical treatment in infants born at 33 weeks gestational age [GA] or later. The analysis suggested that even mild prematurity (e.g., babies born 33-36 weeks GA) is associated with increased risk of medically attended RSV infection, and that this risk is higher among infants exposed to supplemental oxygen or assisted ventilation during the neonatal period. These findings were presented at the 2009 Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland by Dr. Gabriel J. Escobar.

RSV is a leading cause of viral respiratory infection among preterm infants. Although prematurity is a known risk factor for severe RSV infection, there is little information available on risk factors among moderately (rather than extremely) premature babies.

"The health risks associated with late-preterm birth may be overlooked or misunderstood because these babies often appear as healthy as full-term infants. This study contributes to the growing evidence that, late-preterm infants face greater morbidity and healthcare costs up to at least one year after birth," noted Parthiv Mahadevia, M.D., senior director, health outcomes and pharmacoeconomics, MedImmune. "In particular, babies born between 33 and 36 weeks GA have under-developed respiratory and immune systems, putting them at heightened risk for severe RSV disease. Doctors, parents, and the health care system should be aware of these babies' specialized health needs.

This study sought to quantify the relationships between neonatal characteristics and the occurrence of RSV infection requiring medical attention in the first year of life.

The study consisted of 117,060 babies born at 33 weeks gestation or later, who were discharged from six hospitals between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 2002. The neonatal characteristics evaluated included GA, infant sex, "small for GA" status, oxygen exposure variables, and hospital discharge during the RSV season.

The authors noted that further research is needed to determine whether strategies to prevent or mitigate RSV infection are needed in late-preterm infants.

Additional information about the 2009 PAS conference can be found at http://www.pas-meeting.org/2009Baltimore/default.asp.

About RSV

Each year, up to 125,000 infants in the United States are hospitalized with severe RSV infections, the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in U.S. infants. RSV is the most common respiratory infection in infancy or childhood. Approximately one-half of all infants are infected with RSV during the first year of life, and nearly all children have been infected at least once by the time they reach their second birthday. Children born prematurely as well as those with chronic lung disease (CLD) or congenital heart disease (CHD) are at highest risk for severe disease and hospitalization due to RSV. The virus may also cause severe illness in other high-risk groups.

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that RSV accounts for one of every 13 visits to a pediatrician, one of every 38 emergency room trips, and inpatient hospital stays for one out of every 334 children.

About MedImmune

MedImmune, the worldwide biologics business for AstraZeneca PLC (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN), has approximately 3,100 employees worldwide and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. With an advancing pipeline of promising candidates, we aim to be the next revolutionary force in biotechnology by delivering life-changing products, industry-leading performance, and a tireless commitment to improving patient health. For more information, visit MedImmune's website at www.medimmune.com.


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