Every year, RSV is responsible for 60,000–120,000 hospitalizations and 6,000–10,000 deaths among U.S. adults older than age, according to the FDA. Older adults with underlying health conditions — such as diabetes, a weakened immune system, or lung or heart disease — are at high risk for severe disease. "Today’s approval of the first RSV vaccine is an important public health achievement to prevent a disease which can be life-threatening and reflects the FDA’s continued commitment to facilitating the development of safe and effective vaccines for use in the United States," said Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a statement.
The FDA approval of Arexvy was based on a clinical study of approximately 25,000 patients. Half of these patients received Arexvy, while the other half received a placebo. Researchers found that the RSV vaccine reduced RSV-associated lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD) by nearly 83% and reduced the risk of developing severe RSV-associated LRTD by 94%. The most commonly reported side effects were injection site pain, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and joint stiffness/pain. Ten patients who received Arexvy and four patients who received placebo experienced atrial fibrillation within 30 days of vaccination. The company is planning to assess risk for atrial fibrillation in postmarking studies, the FDA said. The European Medicine Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommended approval of Arexvy on April 25, 2023, on the basis of data from the same clinical trial.
GSK said that the U.S. launch of Arexvy will occur sometime in the fall before the 2023/2024 RSV season, but the company did not provide exact dates. "Today marks a turning point in our effort to reduce the significant burden of RSV," said GSK’s chief scientific officer, Tony Wood, PhD, in a company statement. "Our focus now is to ensure eligible older adults in the U.S. can access the vaccine as quickly as possible and to progress regulatory review in other countries."
A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.