Doctors will soon have a new tool to prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalizations in healthy infants and toddlers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday approved a drug, Beyfortus, for the prevention of RSV infections.
RSV is a lower respiratory tract infection that causes cold-like symptoms. However, the virus can lead to more serious illnesses similar to pneumonia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says RSV kills between 100 and 300 infants each year. A surge in cases last fall put a strain on Colorado hospitals.
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Beyfortus, which was developed by AstraZeneca, is a monoclonal antibody that mimics the immune system's ability to fight off the virus. It is administered in single injection before RSV season and is approved for infants up to 24 months old.
The drug was roughly 78% effective in preventing RSV hospitalizations in clinical trials.
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Possible side effects of Beyfortus include rash and injection site reactions, according to the FDA.
The drug will be available this fall. There are still questions about how much Beyfortus will cost and if it will be covered under insurance.