URMC doctors working toward RSV vaccine

Health Watch

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Dr. Edward Walsh, a professor of medicine and infectious disease at URMC, is particularly interested in developing a vaccine to combat the Respiratory Syntactic Virus (RSV) which can make infants and toddlers sick, sometimes hospitalized if it turns into pneumonia.

“RSV vaccine development and testing of potential candidate vaccine has been a longtime interest at the Department of Pediatrics here at URMC, going back 40 to 50 years in fact,” said Dr. Walsh.

Lab technicians at URMC are testing for RSV vaccines, and doctors say there are clinical trials that are in the process of being launched over the next few years.

Doctors say groups of researchers are working toward trials for a vaccine for pregnant women that would prevent their babies from getting the virus.

“The main one that is of interest in terms of RSV and infants is the concept immunizing pregnant women late in their pregnancy in the third trimester in an attempt to produce the maternal antibodies that then will be transmitted to the infant,” Dr. Walsh added.

Those who are elderly are also at risk,” Dr Walsh said. “They are three times more likely to be hospitalized with RSV infection.”

“In that population we have made significant advancement to develop a vaccine,” Dr. Walsh said.

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