VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Parents are learning about and reacting to news that the Food and Drug Administration has just approved a new drug to prevent respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, in young children.

RSV is a cold-like nuisance for most healthy people, but it can be life-threatening in the very young and the elderly.

Scripps News

FDA approves drug to prevent RSV for young children

1:33 PM, Jul 17, 2023

The drug is sold under the brand name Beyfortus. Health officials say it is not a vaccine that prompts the body to make antibodies to defend against pathogens. Instead, this is a lab-made antibody that can bind to the virus and block it from infecting healthy cells.

The drug can be administered as an injection prior to or during RSV season. The FDA says studies show it reduces the risk of young children contracting RSV by 70-75%, and it has approved the use for infants and children up to 2 years old who face an increased risk of severe RSV.

While in Virginia Beach, News 3’s Angela Bohon met Khalida Azizi who was with her daughter and her son Noah who is nearly 15 months. Azizi said Noah really struggled with his health last winter. He had a difficult time breathing and had a persistent cough, according to his parents.

“We went to urgent care so many times. We called 911 so many times,” explained Azizi.

This mother just learned about the injection and says she will look into it, stating, “It will be very nice if they find any kind of injection or vaccine for the respiratory for little kids, because once they get hard breathing, it’s really scary.”

Another parent, Anthony Maresca, does not have firsthand experience with RSV but says he has concerns.

“I didn’t even really know about the COVID stuff. I mean they forced that on everybody and still, don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Maresca who also questioned, “How much are they testing? I mean, how safe are they?”

Beyfortus, which will be marketed in the U.S. by Sanofi, is already approved in Canada and in Europe. Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet in August to recommend exactly who should get the drug.

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