The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved Beyfortus (nirsevimab-alip) to protect newborns from respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
“RSV can cause serious disease in infants and some children and results in a large number of emergency department and physician office visits each year,” said John Farley, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Infectious Diseases in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Today’s approval addresses the great need for products to help reduce the impact of RSV disease on children, families and the health care system.”
The single injection is given to infants born during or entering their first RSV season, and in children up to 24 months of age who remain vulnerable to severe RSV disease through their second RSV season.
RSV is a virus that causes acute respiratory infection in individuals of all age groups. While most infants and young children experience mild, cold-like symptoms, some infants, especially with their first infection, develop lower respiratory tract disease such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis (swelling of the small airway passages in the lungs), that often leads to an emergency department or physician office visit.
Premature infants, and those with chronic lung disease of prematurity or significant congenital heart disease, are at highest risk for severe RSV disease. Approximately 1% to 3% of children under 12 months of age in the United States are hospitalized each year due to RSV, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In most parts of the U.S., RSV circulation is seasonal, typically starting during the fall and peaking in the winter; it is transmitted from person to person through close contact with someone who is infected.
Beyfortus is a monoclonal antibody with activity against RSV. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. One dose of Beyfortus, administered as a single intramuscular injection prior to or during RSV season, may provide protection during the RSV season.
The safety and efficacy of Beyfortus were supported by three clinical trials (Trials 03, 04 and 05). The key measure of efficacy was the incidence of medically attended RSV lower respiratory tract infection (MA RSV LRTI), evaluated during the 150 days after Beyfortus administration. MA RSV LRTI included all health care provider visits (physician office, urgent care, emergency room visits and hospitalization) for lower respiratory tract disease with worsening clinical severity and a positive RSV test. Trials 03 and 04 were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trials.
To read trial information and more on the new drug, click here