As cases of respiratory syncytial (RSV) virus have increased in certain parts of the nation, a new medicine to help prevent hospitalization of infants has been short-supplied.
The CDC announced on Thursday that 770,000 additional doses of a monoclonal anti-viral treatment can be administered to newborns shortly after birth. These will go to doctors’ offices and hospitals. FDA’s July approval announced that the drug, Beyfortus, can reduce serious complications caused by RSV by up to 75%.
Preventive treatment is a breakthrough, as RSV causes hospitalizations in between 1% and 3% of babies younger than one year. By the age of 2, most children are infected by RSV.
Most symptoms are mild. They include a runny or stuffy nose and fatigue. The CDC warns that the virus may cause pneumonia or bronchiolitis in some people, a lung condition that can cause wheezing and make it difficult to breathe.
In severe cases, a baby may need to be admitted to the hospital for additional oxygen and fluids to compensate for dehydration. Sometimes, a breathing tube is inserted, or a mechanical ventilator can help breathe.
Beyfortus is being given in additional doses as RSV rates are high in some areas. Cook Children’s Medical Center Fort Worth in Texas recently posted to Facebook that they expect long waiting times at their emergency room due to the fact that hundreds of patients seek care daily, and RSV positivity rates have reached 33%.
Cook Children’s published a notice in Spanish that stated, “Many babies are suffering from severe RSV and hospitals struggle to find beds for all of them.”
In central North Carolina, a spike in RSV cases prompted the
In the week ending November 11, more than 6,800 RSV cases were reported by the CDC. In the last month, the rate of RSV tests that are positive in children and adults has almost doubled. According to CDC statistics for the week ending November 11, babies under one year of age are most likely to go to emergency departments with RSV.
Health officials expressed hope that this may be the least severe RSV season ever due to the approval of Beyfortus and a new vaccine that can be administered. This fall, health officials expressed hope that this may be the least severe RSV season ever due to the approval of Beyfortus and a new vaccine that can be