Moderna Says RSV Vaccine for Older Adults Is 84% Effective

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Jan. 18, 2023 – Moderna's vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for older adults was 84% effective at preventing at least two symptoms of the illness and 82% effective at preventing at least three symptoms, the company announced this week. 

Safety data from Moderna’s phase III trial for the vaccine, which uses mRNA technology, was also robust, the company said in a news release

Moderna will now apply to the FDA for regulatory approval, joining two other pharmaceutical companies that have already applied. (Last year, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline completed their phase III trials for RSV vaccines for older adults.)

"It's very exciting to see progress in RSV vaccines in older adults, and I think both of those vaccines [Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline] have shown pretty remarkable results as well," Moderna president Stephen Hoge told Reuters. "We really think we're in that top class – 84% is a terrific efficacy number."

The RSV vaccine that Moderna developed is for adults ages 60 and older. The company said some of its RSV vaccine technology is shared by its COVID-19 vaccine. 

Up to 120,000 older adults are hospitalized annually due to RSV and up to 10,000 die from RSV infection, the CDC says. Common RSV symptoms include a runny nose, coughing, and a fever. But in older adults, particularly those with heart or lung diseases or who have weakened immune systems, the illness can cause more than common cold symptoms and can progress to a lung infection or pneumonia.

RSV was among a trio of respiratory illnesses reaching record levels in the U.S. this fall. It's most known as a dangerous illness for infants and young children. Moderna said its pediatric RSV vaccine trials are ongoing.

RSV vaccines could create a market worth more than $10 billion, of which $5 billion alone could be in the U.S., Reuters reported.