Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common cause of upper and lower respiratory tract infections in children and adults. It is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in infants under a year of age and results in up to 500,000 GP attendances, 30,000 hospitalisations and 900 paediatric intensive care unit admissions per year in children under 5 years of age in the UK. It also causes significant morbidity and mortality on older adults. There is currently no widely available antiviral treatment or vaccine. The monoclonal antibody (mAb) palivizumab is available as prophylaxis but due to its high cost is only given to the highest risk infants; those born extremely prematurely or with significant congenital heart disease. However, many novel antiviral treatments, vaccines and mAbs are in development.