The world’s first vaccine for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) has been approved by the US drug regulator

A vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a disease that causes thousands of deaths annually in the US, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The vaccine, named Arexvy and produced by GSK, still requires approval from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before being made available to the general public.

According to officials, the vaccine is a significant advancement that has the potential to save numerous lives. They anticipate that it may be accessible to individuals over 60 years old within a few months.

“Today’s approval of the first RSV vaccine is an important public health achievement to prevent a disease which can be life-threatening,” said Dr Peter Marks, who leads the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a respiratory illness that typically causes cold-like symptoms in adults, but can pose a threat to young children, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions. According to the CDC, on average, it leads to the deaths of 100-300 children under the age of 5 in the US annually.

It also causes the deaths of around 6,000 to 10,000 adults over 65 every year and results in between 60,000 to 120,000 hospital admissions. In severe cases, it can cause bronchiolitis, which involves inflammation buildup in the lungs and breathing difficulties.

The recently approved vaccine, named Arexvy by manufacturer GSK, is the first in the world to gain approval for preventing RSV. The drug took over 60 years to develop, and officials consider it a major breakthrough that will save many lives. It could become available to people over 60 within a few months, pending approval from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A study conducted by GSK, a UK-based firm, and published in February, found the vaccine to have an efficacy of 82.6%. Side effects were mostly mild or moderate and lasted for no more than two days. Common side effects included pain around the injection site and fatigue.