Innovative maternal vaccine trial in Southampton

Doctors in Southampton are offering pregnant women the chance to participate in a trial of a vaccine that could protect babies against a virus which can cause life-threatening infections.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes infections in the lungs and breathing passages and affects nearly all infants by the age of two, and can lead to severe lung infections such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Unfortunately, it results in around 30 deaths a year among babies in the UK.

A trial at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is offering women receiving antenatal care at the Princess Anne Hospital the opportunity to participate in a trial with an investigational RSV vaccine that generates proteins in the mother’s blood, which, when passed to babies in the womb, could protect children for a minimum of three months.

Chrissie Jones, a consultant in paediatric infectious diseases at the hospital, said: “RSV is the leading cause of hospitalisation in young children and globally millions of children are affected by RSV every year. An effective vaccine could prevent thousands of babies a year having to be admitted to hospital in the UK and around the world and has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives.

“This is the first time in 50 years of research that a potential RSV vaccine has been developed for use in pregnancy to prevent RSV disease right from birth, so we are delighted to be part of a such an exciting international study.”

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