UVMMC doctor excited about RSV vaccine trial

Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 7:56 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A Pfizer RSV vaccine for pregnant women is in phase 3 trial, with the potential to help infants cope with the sometimes serious illness, according to local experts.

A runny nose, a sore throat, and a cough are all symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that are generally manageable for most people, but it can make babies under six months old pretty sick.

Dr. Becca Bell, a pediatrician with UVM Children’s Hospital, says the RSV season came earlier in Vermont this year. While she still expects to see cases this winter, the state has hit the peak. To fight against the virus, Pfizer is in phase 3 testing of an RSV vaccine specifically for pregnant people.

“They make antibodies and those antibodies get passed onto the fetus so when babies are born, they have a little bit of immunity to RSV,” Dr. Bell said. “And that’s really exciting for us because when we talk about kids getting really sick with RSV it’s usually infants that are getting the most sick. So, if infants can be born with some immunity -- even if it’s short-lived, even if it’s six months or one year -- that can make a huge difference in terms of kids’ health.”

Pfizer is expected to submit full trial data to the FDA for approval in the coming months.

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