Children and Adult Vaccine Research in Full Swing in Nashville – NC5

This story originally ran on Nashville News Channel 5’s website, Children and Adult Vaccine Research in Full Swing in Nashville, on Friday, Dec. 2. 

NASHVILLE TENN. (WTVF) — RSV can be deadly for older adults and young children, so that’s why research to find a vaccine that works is full steam ahead.

At the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Dr. James Antoon has treated hundreds of sick kids with RSV.

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“These kids sometimes just need a little bit of oxygen support, but some of them require ICU care, get secondary infections like pneumonia, and unfortunately some die each year from RSV,” Antoon said.

It’s why he decided to enroll his daughter, Hannah, into an RSV vaccine study.

“So right when she turned 6 months, we signed her up for the trial — hoping to protect her from this odd RSV season that we’re having,” Antoon said.

He said it’s frustrating they don’t have a lot of tools to help children with respiratory illness.

“If you have the opportunity to join one of these trials to help you and your child, and the community at large, I think it’s something that is a really great thing to do,” Antoon said.

Dr. Natasha Halasa, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt, is collecting safety data for the trial.

“The kids are tolerating it and doing well,” Halasa said.

She said they follow the children for a year to see if they get RSV.

“So it’s a one-time nose spray dose that they get,” Halasa said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6,000 to 10,000 older adults die from RSV every year.

“But as a senior it can turn into viral pneumonia, and it can kill you. So, it’s not a joke,” said Dr. Stephan Sharp with Clinical Research Associates.

At Clinical Research Associates, they have two ongoing RSV vaccine studies through Pfizer and Janssen. Pfizer reports it’s more than 85% effective, but nothing has been submitted to the FDA yet.

“It’s certainly better than what we saw several years ago when we did the first round of vaccine studies that did not really work,” Sharp said.

More than 200 local adults, ages 65 and up, are in the studies.

“If it keeps you out of the hospital, and out of the morgue, then you’ve done some good,” Sharp said.

These studies have closed enrollment. But it’s likely more spots for RSV vaccine studies for children will open in the spring.

Read about a current study for traditional COVID-19 vaccines occurring at Clinical Research Associates here.

Read about other RSV Vaccine Clinical Study updates here.