U.S. health officials have asked doctors to prioritize which infants get the new RSV shot, just as cases of the respiratory disease begin to rise with the onset of cold and flu season.
Due to a limited supply, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending pediatricians and health care providers reserve doses of the new monoclonal antibody drug, nirsevimab, for those at highest risk of severe respiratory syncytial virus, which includes infants under 6 months and those with underlying conditions.
The federal agency is also recommending doctors stop giving the shot, which is sold under the brand name Beyfortus, to infants 8 to 19 months old who are eligible for palivizumab, an older antibody injection sold under the brand name Synagis used to prevent severe RSV in children at increased risk due to heart and lung conditions.
RSV is a common respiratory virus the can become serious in young children, older people and those with weaker immune systems. Most infants are infected in their first year of life, and it's the leading cause of hospitalization among the age group, the CDC states.
In addressing the "great need" for RSV prevention products, the FDA approved Beyfortus for newborns and infants in July, and the CDC began recommending it the next month, just before the season which typically begins in mid-September.
Unlike Synagis, which is given once a month through RSV season, the one-time Beyfortus shot — which comes in 50 or 100 milligrams, depending on the size of the infant — may provide protection throughout the entire season, which typically wraps from mid-April to mid-May, according to the CDC.
This prospect of another form of protection was popular with parents, and although the demand was expected, Sanofi, which developed the drug, didn't have enough this season. But it said it was working with its partner in manufacturing, AstraZeneca, to accelerate additional supply.
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