Middlemore's Kidz First Hospital welcomes vaccine trial results

Middlemore’s Kidz First Hospital is welcoming the results of a vaccine trial which shows great promise for fighting RSV - otherwise known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

The trial, involving pregnant mothers, was conducted at Aotearoa Clinical Trials based at Middlemore, and was part of an international effort.

RSV causes infections in the lungs and respiratory tracts, and doctors say the results are important in areas like South Auckland, where children are hit hard by the virus every year.

For infants, the virus can lead to more serious illnesses, including bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

Children with underlying health issues can become seriously ill and require hospitalisation to deliver oxygen if their levels are low, and support feeding which is made difficult due to the increased effort they need to breathe.

Researchers in the global trial of the vaccine found an 82% reduction in infants needing medical treatment for severe lower respiratory tract infections due to RSV in their first 90 days after their mothers were vaccinated during pregnancy.

Dr John Baker of Aotearoa Clinical Trials says with most drugs or vaccines a 15% change would be considered significant.

“So, this is an outstanding result.

“The results released in the New England Journal of Medicine are preliminary findings from the study and further research will be done on the data.”

Clinical Director of Kidz First Dr Richard Matsas said that in the last year the team saw 380 infants under two years of age admitted to our wards due to RSV bronchiolitis.

“Any intervention that can reduce the number of infants developing a severe lung infection such as severe RSV bronchiolitis is welcome. 

“This is particularly important in our community where many infants live in cold houses which are difficult to heat, and this can make them more susceptible to picking up a virus such as RSV.”

Richard says the study reports a reduction in infants needing medical treatment for severe RSV which will undoubtedly mean a decrease in the number of infants needing to go to hospital in the early months after birth.

However, he stresses there will need to be more evaluation of the vaccine beyond the initial clinical trial.





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