FDA hands Pfizer priority review for its RSV vaccine candidate

As hospitals struggle to treat the surge of pediatric respiratory syncytial virus infections with a limited repertoire of treatments, the FDA placed Pfizer's RSV vaccine candidate on its fast-track list Dec. 7. 

The FDA gave GSK's RSV vaccine candidate priority review Nov. 2. Whichever drugmaker gets the regulator's OK will be the first pharmaceutical company with an authorized RSV vaccine.

The vaccine candidate is intended to prevent RSV in people 60 and older, according to a Dec. 7 news release from Pfizer. Infants and older adults are at high risk for severe RSV cases, but comparatively, older populations have a higher death rate from the virus, according to the CDC. Each year, 6,000 to 10,000 Americans 65 and older and 100 to 300 infants and toddlers die from it. 

There are multiple pharmaceutical companies in the race, and the two drugmakers furthest along with a pediatric vaccine option are Pfizer and a collaboration between AstraZeneca and Sanofi.

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