Dec. 7, 2022 -- The first vaccine to protect older people against RSV could gain federal approval next spring, Pfizer announced.

The company said the Food and Drug Administration has agreed to a priority review of its candidate vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus for people 60 and older.

Pfizer said a study of the drug, RSVpreF, found it to be 85.7% effective among people with three or more symptoms and 66.7% effective for people with two or more symptoms, Reuters reported.

“With no RSV vaccines currently available, older adults remain at-risk for RSV disease and potential severe outcomes, including serious respiratory symptoms, hospitalization, and in some cases, even death,” said Annaliesa Anderson, Pfizer’s senior vice president and chief scientific officer, vaccine research & development.

RSV kills about 14,000 older Americans a year and sends about 100,000 people to the hospital. The common virus is highly contagious and usually causes mild cold-like symptoms but can be fatal for young children or older adults.

“The virus is increasingly recognized as a significant cause of respiratory illness in older adults in the U.S.,” says William Schaffner, MD, medical director of National Foundation of Infectious Diseases. 

RSV infects the nose, throat, lungs and breathing passages. It’s easy to mistake it for a common cold, the flu, and COVID-19.

Symptoms can include a runny nose, cough, sneezing, low-grade fever, and loss of appetite.

Show Sources

Pfizer: “U.S. FDA Accepts for Priority Review the Biologics License Application for Pfizer’s Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine Candidate for the Prevention of RSV Disease in Older Adults”

Reuters: “U.S. FDA grants priority review to Pfizer's RSV vaccine”

© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info