The US company Moderna wants to apply for approval for an RSV vaccine for adults over 60 years of age in the first half of the year.
The vaccine called "mRNA-1345" has shown "promising results" in the Phase 3 study required for approval, the company announced late Tuesday evening. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes respiratory disease. The Robert Koch Institute counts among the risk patients, for example, premature babies and children with previous lung diseases as well as people with immunodeficiency or suppressed immune systems.
Reduced risk of serious illness
"We found that using the vaccine reduced the risk of confirmed severe RSV disease by almost 84 percent," said Paul Burton, head of medicine at Moderna, the German Press Agency. The effectiveness of the vaccine against RSV-related diseases of the lower respiratory tract with two or more symptoms was examined. The safety profile was also very good. According to the company, around 37,000 people aged 60 and over from 22 countries took part in the study.
The so-called messenger RNA (messenger ribonucleic acid, mRNA) became known to a broad public through its use in the corona vaccines. The mRNA in vaccines delivers part of the genetic information of the virus to human cells. With this information, they produce a protein of the pathogen against which the body then develops defense reactions. In later contact with the pathogen, the immune system recognizes the protein and can fight the virus faster and more specifically.
RSV particularly dangerous for infants and young children
"In this vaccine, we encapsulate this messenger RNA in the same lipid that we use for the Covid vaccine, which is used in hundreds of millions of people around the world," Burton said.
The vaccine developed is initially intended for people aged 60 and over. However, RSV can also be particularly dangerous for infants and young children. Moderna is also researching this, Burton said. "We have five other ongoing programs for young children, pregnant mothers and a number of other populations. We will be releasing this data in the coming months."
RSV had placed a heavy burden on children's hospitals in Germany and other countries this season. The combination of many influenza, corona and RSV cases also posed challenges for the health system. The goal is to combine different vaccines against respiratory viruses, such as corona and RSV, said Burton. However, such studies are more difficult to conduct and require more time. "I think that over the next few years we should be able to develop these combination vaccines that would really offer very comprehensive public health protection."