Clinical Pfizer claims older adults can be protected against severe...

Pfizer claims older adults can be protected against severe illness through its RSV vaccine


A late-stage clinical trial of older adults revealed that Pfizer’s respiratory virus (RSV) vaccine was almost 86% effective in the prevention of serious illness.

According to Pfizer, the vaccine, which goes by the name RSVpreF, was roughly 67% effective in the prevention of comparatively less intense illness from the virus, and no severe safety concerns were caused.

These results were from a phase III trial conducted on 37,000 adults aged 60 and over, as per Pfizer. Administration of the vaccine is done in a single dose. According to experts, the results are substantial due to the lack of approved vaccines that could potentially prevent infections caused by RSV. These infections amount to 14,000 deaths and 177,000 hospitalizations in aged adults every year, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Boston Children’s Hospital’s director of the Precision Vaccines Program, Dr. Ofer Levy says “There is a serious unmet need to protect older adults against viral respiratory disease, which can cause severe illness or even death in this age group.”

Levy also said that he would like to view more vaccine data even though the results posted by Pfizer are promising.

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, comes about in most areas of the United States each year during spring, winter, and fall. It generally causes minor symptoms in adults that are similar to those of a cold but may lead to potentially lethal illness at times.

Aged adults with other conditions like heart disease, and chronic lung illness, will be more vulnerable to the virus and it will be comparatively more dangerous for them as well, according to infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner.

A monoclonal antibody injection called Synagis had attained approval for use against severe illness in the United States. However, its availability is only for infants considered high-risk or for babies born prematurely.

Older people who cross paths with the virus and get ill are treated with antibiotics in case of bacterial presence in the lungs. They may need to be shifted to intensive care according to Levy.

RSVpreF targets two strains; RSV A and B. Pfizer said that it is planning to submit an application to the FDA later in the fall, for full approval in adults who are 60 and over.

Pfizer’s senior VP of vaccine clinical R&D, Dr. William Gruber noted that lifetime immunity is not granted and the vaccine’s additional dose may be required in due course.

He mentioned that Pfizer is in the process of gathering data on the duration of protection from the first RSV vaccine dose and did not rule out the possibility of it becoming an annual requirement like a flu shot.

According to the company, another phase III trial is ongoing for pregnant women. Gruber said that the results of the tests are expected by the year-end. He also mentioned the company’s desire to conduct the same tests on different demographics. Pregnant women who got the vaccine from Pfizer passed on their antibodies to the newborns, according to a published study from the New England Journal of Medicine.

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