New RSV Vaccine, 3 Ebola Vax, Amoxicillin Shortage, More

- Advertisement -

RSV vaccine helps prevent severe illness: Pfizer

© AP

An experimental maternal vaccine for RSV from Pfizer, administered during pregnancy, was effective at preventing infants from developing severe symptoms from birth through their first six months, the company said.

  • Unlike some other RSV vaccine candidates, Pfizer’s shot is administered during pregnancy, with the aim of transferring antibodies from mothers to infants.
  • Other maternal vaccines include the flu shot, as well as one for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

The company said that it plans to file the data on the vaccine with regulators by the end of the year, with the hope of having it available by next winter.

There are currently no vaccines available for RSV, and the only treatment is monoclonal antibodies, usually reserved for extremely high-risk cases, including infants born prematurely or those with chronic diseases related to the heart and lungs.

  • According to Pfizer’s news release, the vaccine reduced the rate of severe illness in infants that required medical attention by about 82 percent through the first 90 days of life.
  • That efficacy dropped to 69 percent over a baby’s first six months, meaning protection likely wanes as children get older.

RSV season usually occurs during colder weather, though it’s been hitting unusually hard and early this year, contributing to a wave of respiratory infections that is overwhelming children’s hospitals nationwide.


© iStock

A type of amoxicillin used by children is in short supply in the U.S., according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Amoxicillin comes as a capsule, a tablet, a chewable tablet and as a liquid to be taken by mouth, depending on the age of the patient. The FDA listed the liquid form of the drug, which is used by young children, in its drug shortage database.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, have all reported shortages of various doses of amoxicillin, which is most commonly used to treat bacterial infections in children.

The FDA’s website lists increased demand as the reason for shortages at Hikma, Teva, Aurobindo and Rising.

A shortage at a fifth company, Sandoz, was listed as “other.”

The FDA only lists drugs on its website once it has confirmed that “overall market demand is not being met by the manufacturers of the product.”

An agency spokesperson told The Hill on Oct. 26 it did not consider amoxicillin to be in shortage because at least one manufacturer was able to fully supply market demand.


- Advertisement -