Title: Revised Recommendations for Monoclonal Antibody Shot to Prevent Severe RSV Outbreak
Health officials have updated their guidelines regarding the use of a monoclonal antibody shot to prevent severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants, due to a drug shortage and a rise in RSV cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now prioritizing the administration of higher doses of the shot to infants younger than six months and babies with underlying health conditions, who are most vulnerable to severe complications.
Previously, health experts advised the use of the monoclonal antibody shot called Beyfortus for all infants aged 8 months and younger, as well as children between 8 and 19 months who faced an increased risk of severe RSV infection. However, the recent scarcity of the vaccine has prompted the CDC to reassess its recommendations.
Sanofi, one of the manufacturers of Beyfortus, has attributed the shortage to an “unprecedented demand” and has pledged to ramp up production, partnering with manufacturing company AstraZeneca to meet the increased need. In response to the scarcity, the CDC is advising parents of children between 8 and 19 months to consider an alternative monoclonal antibody called palivizumab, provided their eligibility.
The recommendation updates come amidst a surge in RSV cases nationwide, primarily concentrated in the southeastern region of the United States. Annually, RSV hospitalizes approximately 58,000 children under the age of 5 in the country, resulting in several hundred deaths.
Before the shortage, health officials allowed infants to receive the Beyfortus shot prior to the RSV season, which typically spans from fall to winter. This monoclonal antibody represents a significant advancement in preventive measures, as it is the first of its kind to be widely available to a broad range of individuals, extending beyond immunocompromised children. In contrast, palivizumab is limited to high-risk infants born severely premature.
In addition to the revised recommendations for the monoclonal antibody shot, health officials are emphasizing the importance of pregnant individuals receiving a new vaccine specifically designed to safeguard newborns from RSV. By ensuring expectant mothers are vaccinated, the need for follow-up antibody shots can be eliminated, providing an added layer of protection.
As the RSV season continues and cases persist, health professionals are actively monitoring the situation and advocating for the appropriate administration of available preventive measures, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding infants and high-risk individuals from severe complications caused by this common respiratory virus.
“Infuriatingly humble tv expert. Friendly student. Travel fanatic. Bacon fan. Unable to type with boxing gloves on.”