RSV: Current patterns and future directions



Chest Infections Section

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an underappreciated cause of hospital admission in adult patients, especially among those who have underlying cardiopulmonary comorbidities (Branche AR, et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2022;74[6]:1004). A meta-analysis estimated an annual incidence rate of 37.6 per 1000 persons per year with a hospital case fatality rate of 11.7% (5.8%-23.4%) in industrialized countries (Shi T, et al. J Infect Dis. 2022;226 [suppl 1]).

Recent work showed RSV to be quite pathogenic in adults (Begley KM, et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2023:ciad031). In 10,311 hospitalized adults with an acute respiratory illness, 6% tested positive for RSV and 18.8% for influenza virus. Compared with influenza virus, patients infected with RSV were more likely to have COPD or CHF and had longer admission and more requirements for mechanical ventilation.

There have been new advances in the prevention of RSV-associated illness. Nirsevimab, an IgG1 monoclonal antibody that locks the RSV F protein in prefusion stage, had an efficacy of 74.5% in preventing RSV-associated lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in infants up to 150 days, which is an improvement over palivizumab (Bergeron HC, et al. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2022;31 [No. 1]: 23). The FDA advisory committee just approved two RSV vaccines, both of which target prefusion F protein, for elderly adults. The RSVPreF3OA had 82.6% efficacy against LRTI in adults over 60 years of age (Papi A, et al. N Engl J Med. 2023;388:595) and Ad26.RSV.preF-RSV preF protein vaccine had 80% efficacy in adults over 65 years of age (Falsey AR, et al. N Engl J Med. 2023;388:609).

Shekhar Ghamande, MD, MBBS, FCCP – Section Member-at-Large

Paige Marty, MD – Section Fellow-in-Training

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