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The Potential of Nirsevimab in Preventing RSV-Related Hospitalisations in Infants

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Mason Walker
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The Potential of Nirsevimab in Preventing RSV-Related Hospitalisations in Infants

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A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has yielded promising results about the use of nirsevimab in preventing hospitalisations due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants. RSV is a common cause of respiratory illness in infants and can lead to severe complications, including bronchiolitis and pneumonia. The study indicates that a single injection of nirsevimab during the RSV season significantly reduces the likelihood of hospital admission in previously healthy infants.

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Understanding Nirsevimab and Its Role in Preventing RSV

Nirsevimab is a medication developed for the prevention of RSV in infants. This monoclonal antibody works by binding to the virus, preventing it from infecting cells and spreading within the body. According to the CDC, it is crucial to use the available doses rather than conserving them for later in the season. The 100mg doses are recommended for infants with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk of severe disease. The 50mg dosage of nirsevimab is currently available for new orders from Sanofi.

Research Findings on the Effectiveness of Nirsevimab

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The research, funded by Sanofi and AstraZeneca, included over 8,000 infants who were randomly assigned to receive either nirsevimab or standard care. The results were striking: nirsevimab was found to be 83.2% effective in preventing hospitalisations due to RSV-associated lower respiratory tract infection, and 75.7% effective in preventing very severe RSV-associated lower respiratory tract infection. The efficacy of nirsevimab varied in different countries, with the highest efficacy observed in France.

Impact of Nirsevimab on Hospitalisation Rates

The study findings suggest that extending the seasonal RSV immunisation programme to all newborn infants could significantly reduce hospital admissions. A single injection of nirsevimab during the winter season brought down hospital admissions from 6 per 1000 previously healthy infants to just 1 per 1000. This reduction could alleviate the pressure on hospital services, especially during the winter months when RSV cases typically spike.

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The Future of RSV Prevention

While the findings from this study are encouraging, the availability of nirsevimab is currently limited. The monoclonal antibody is in short supply in the U.S. for the upcoming RSV season. However, it's important to note that maternal vaccination has been approved as another viable option to prevent RSV in neonates and infants.

The research on nirsevimab has been well-received by experts in the field, with many expressing optimism about its potential impact on preventing RSV in infants. While more research is needed, this study is a significant step forward in fighting against RSV-related hospitalisations in infants, providing hope for safer winters for our youngest population.

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