"Preventing these premature infants from contracting an RSV infection during their first winter had long-term benefits for their health," said Sally Wenzel, M.D., co-author and Professor of Medicine at National Jewish. "They have better lung function, and fewer colds, asthma attacks and allergies."
The children in the study were infants born 10 to 11 weeks prematurely, who spent weeks in intensive care and on ventilators. Their compromised lungs made them especially susceptible to infection with RSV, a common childhood illness. In healthy children, RSV usually develops into a relatively harmless upper respiratory infection. But in vulnerable children, such as these premature infants, the RSV infection is more likely to become a serious infection of the lungs. Thirteen of the children in the current study received monthly injections during their first winter of an immune globulin preparation with antibodies to RSV. The short-term trial showed that the preparation was effective at preventing RSV infection.
RSV infection of the lower respiratory tract has also been associated with the development of asthma. Dr. Wenzel and Eric Simoes, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Infectious Diseases, at The Children's Hospital, decided to follow as many children from the original trial as possible to learn the long-term effects of RSV prevention in the first year of life. Seven to 10 years after the original trials, they found 1
Contact: William Allstetter
National Jewish Medical and Research Center