Clinical considerations for the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus disease in infants

Respiratory syncytial virus is a leading cause of lower respiratory tract illness globally in children under 5 years. Each year, approximately 58,000 hospitalizations in the United States are attributed to respiratory syncytial virus. Infants aged 6 months and younger experience the most severe morbidity and mortality. Until recently, prevention with the monoclonal antibody, palivizumab, was only offered to infants with high-risk conditions, and treatment primarily consisted of supportive care. Currently, two products are approved for the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus in infants. These include the Pfizer bivalent recombinant respiratory syncytial virus prefusion F protein subunit vaccine, administered seasonally to the pregnant person between 32 0/7 and 36 6/7 weeks of gestation, and the monoclonal antibody, nirsevimab, administered to infants up to 8 months entering their first respiratory syncytial virus season. With few exceptions, administering both the vaccine to the pregnant person and monoclonal antibody to the infant is not recommended. All infants should be protected against respiratory syncytial virus using one of these strategies. Key considerations for pregnant individuals include examining available safety and efficacy data, weighing accessibility and availability, and patient preferences for maternal vaccination versus infant monoclonal antibody treatment. It will be critical for maternal-fetal medicine physicians to provide effective and balanced counseling to aid patients in deciding on a personalized approach to the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus in their infants.

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KEY WORDS: respiratory syncytial virus, lower respiratory tract infection, vaccine, monoclonal antibody, patient counseling, pregnancy, prevention

TAGS: management, pregnancy

CATEGORIES: Consult Series