Experts: Could be close to RSV vaccine

Family Focus: RSV vaccines

TOLEDO (WTOL) - RSV is a common respiratory virus that can be very dangerous for babies.

Last week WTOL 11 brought you a story about a mother, whose son ended up in the ICU for a week, because of the virus.

“He’s fighting pretty hard to breathe,” said mother Katherine Caudill about her one-month-old son, Austin.

Austin finally went home, after a week in Toledo Hospital’s PICU.

“He’s a fighter. He’s a strong, little one,” said Caudill.

It’s just the beginning of RSV season, which health experts say can last into May. Right now, experts say the only thing most families can do to prevent it is handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes and avoiding crowded places.

There’s currently no vaccine on the market. The last attempt failed in the 1960s.

“After that, people were pretty scared of looking at vaccines for RSV,” said Dr. Deepa Mukundan, Chief of Pediatric Disease at the University of Toledo.

Could we be getting close? Infectious Disease specialist with Vanderbuilt University, Dr. William Schaffner said, we just might be.

“I would think, 2019, everything going well, ‘knock wood,’ will be a very interesting year if you’re interested in the prevention of RSV, as we all are. So the first vaccine may actually be released,” he explained.

Dr. Schaffner said the vaccine would be given to pregnant women, who pass on the antibodies to their babies through the placenta, which protect them through those first few vulnerable months of life.

That prospect is exciting for health experts.

“Wow! That would be huge in terms of prevention. Like, you know, we don’t have polio anymore. At least in the United States,” said Dr. Mukundan.

Experts say, even with a vaccine, it’s still important to continue common prevention practices, like handwashing.

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