TOPEKA (KSNT)- Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that up until now had no treatment.
A new vaccine about to hit the market could be the “shot in the arm” some patients need to ease the symptoms. Doctors at Topeka ER tell 27 News the number of RSV cases in Topeka skyrocketed this winter. But, doctors hope the new vaccine could drastically reduce the severity of cases they see in the future.
RSV is a common respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms. It can be serious, and even deadly for some patients, including children under five and older adults with weakened immune systems.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever RSV vaccine called Arexvy. It will soon be available to patients over the age of 60, possibly as early as next month.
A doctor with Topeka ER said the goal of this vaccine isn’t to prevent infection but to reduce the severity of patients’ symptoms. While this version of the vaccine is only for older adults, researchers are also working on one for pregnant women and their unborn children.
“The Pfizer vaccine they’re looking for placement for potential people who are pregnant to also cover their infant,” said Khylie Wurdeman, a doctor at Topeka ER. “So, the goal with that is a mom would get the vaccine while pregnant and then they would pass immunity to their child for the first six months of life, for the time when it’s most severe.”
The Pfizer vaccine is currently under review with the FDA. It is expected to approve the vaccine as soon as August.
Dr. Wurdeman said RSV cases spiked as covid restrictions eased and fewer people wore masks.
With the vaccine available before the start of the cold season, she hopes it will cut down on hospitalizations which will save people money and possibly their lives.