RSV Vaccine Being Tested In Topeka

Topeka (WIBW) - Every year, some 80,000 children are hospitalized because of RSV.

Stormont-Vail Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Jo-Ann Harris says RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a common repiratory virus that affects almost all children by the age of two.

RSV symptoms are much like the common cold.Dr. Harris says, in adults and older children, it's usually not a big deal. But in young infants, especially those with heart disease or who were born prematurely, it can be deadly serious. Dr. Harris says preemies have immature lungs that can't handle the inflammation. They get sicker, quicker and can develop bad lung disease or pneumonia, which could be fatal.

Dr. Harris says current treatments for RSV don't treat the virus itself, but the symptoms. Since RSV spreads much like the common cold, the best prevention is hand washing. There is a once-a-month injection that can be given, but Dr. Harris says it's reserved only for high-risk infants.

Researchers are working to change that. Stormont-Vail is among 50 clinical trial sites for an RSV vaccine that could be given to all infants.

If RSV can be prevented with a vaccine, Dr. Harris says, it would take away a lot of concerns.

The vaccine being tested is given nasally. It also coveres PIV3, or Parainfluenza Virus 3, another leading cause of lung infections in infants. The study is looking at how many does would be needed, along with safety and effectiveness.

Volunteers for the vaccine trial must be one- to- three or six- to 24-months old. They'd get the vaccine doses and be followed for a year with nasal swabs and blood checks.

Those interested in learning more about the study can call Cotton-O'Neil Clinical Research at 785-368-0744. Stormont also is involved in an observational study of older children that could shed light on the age range for vaccinations.


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