September 7, 2001

Clinical trials may hold key to RSV vaccine

Featured Image

Construction continues on the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, scheduled to open in 2003. The hospital will have eight floors, including a grand lobby and large patient rooms. Patient rooms will be clustered in neighborhoods of 12 rooms, with family areas located on each floor. Colorful graphics on the floor and walls will provide a unique environment for children. The hospital will also house the Junior League Family Resource Center, a performance area, food court and retail stores. (photos by Dana Johnson)

Clinical trials may hold key to RSV vaccine

Vanderbilt researchers are evaluating a new nose drop vaccine for children to help prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Under the director of Dr. Peter Wright, professor of Pediatrics, the Vanderbilt Pediatric Vaccine Practice is enrolling infants 28 to 90 days of age; children six to 24 months of age; and children 15 to 59 months of age to participate in RSV studies.

The phase I RSV trials will evaluate the effectiveness of the nose drops in three different age groups of infants and children. RSV is the chief cause of hospitalizations for respiratory tract infections in children and is the most frequent cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia during the first two years of life.

RSV can affect children in many ways and occasionally may manifest itself as croup. Close to half of primary infections are classified as lower respiratory tract disease and the other half as upper respiratory tract infections and otitis media.

Approximately 60 percent of all children will get RSV in the first year of life and almost 100 percent have been infected with RSV by their second birthday. Daycare children have a higher risk of getting RSV during their first year of life. Characterized by wheezing, RSV causes approximately 90,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths each year in both infants and young children, according to statistics released by the American Lung Association. It is spread by hand-to-hand contact with any object harboring the pathogen; by contact with the eyes and nose; and by droplets from a cough or sneeze.

The virus occurs throughout the year, but outbreaks typically peak in January and February.

“At this point there is no vaccine to prevent illness caused by RSV,” explained Kitty Miller, a registered nurse in the Vanderbilt Pediatric Practice. “Because of the seriousness of the RSV disease there is a need for an effective vaccine.”

Participants in the study will receive either a placebo or the actual vaccine. Studies will run approximately four to eight weeks. You do not have to be a part of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Practice to participate in the study.

For more information contact Miller or Alice OíShea, RN, at 322-2477.