Respiratory syncytial virus prophylaxis and the "special population"

Virginia Mirra, Nicola Ullmann, Claudio Cherchi, Alessandro Onofri, Maria G Paglietti, Renato Cutrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bronchiolitis is the most frequent airway infection in the first 2 years of life, and the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the virus more frequent responsible. In selected high-risk groups, RSV may cause severe respiratory disease leading to hospitalisation, need for mechanical ventilation, and even death. These high-risk groups include children with congenital heart disease, infants with neuromuscular impairment, cystic fibrosis, down syndrome, immunodeficiency syndromes and others specific conditions. In these high-risk populations defined in literature as "special population", a 3- to 10-fold increase in the rate of RSV hospitalisation has been observed, justifying RSV specific prophylaxis with Palivizumab, a monoclonal antibody that binds a viral glycoprotein epitope and blocks the link between RSV and target cell. Evidence of safety and efficacy of RSV prophylaxis in these populations is lacking. Given the low incidence of these conditions, randomised clinical trials are not feasible. The purpose of this paper is to give an update from the literature of various conditions at higher risk to develop severe RSV infection, and to offer an overview of the efficacy of Palivizumab in preventing RSV infection in these specific populations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMinerva Pediatrica
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 18 2018


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