FDA approves 1st RSV drug for babies, toddlers

The U.S. now has an approved pediatric drug to prevent respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory tract disease, which infects nearly every child before they turn 2 years old.

On July 17, the FDA approved AstraZeneca's pediatric RSV drug, Beyfortus (nirsevimab-alip), for children 24 months and younger. Most RSV infections are mild and cold-like, and one to two out of every 100 infants younger than 6 months will require hospitalization, according to the CDC

During the 2022-'23 RSV season, which began earlier than normal and contributed to a tripledemic alongside COVID-19 and influenza, there were no approved treatments for the virus that hospitalizes up to 160,000 older adults and 80,000 young children annually. Now, the U.S. will have at least three RSV drugs — one for infants and two for adults 60 and older, the two most vulnerable populations for contracting and dying from RSV infections. 

Every year, the U.S. records about 6,000 to 10,000 deaths among adults 65 years and older, and 100 to 300 deaths in children younger than 5 years old because of RSV, according to the CDC.

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