SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The CDC alerted doctors nationwide this week about a limited availability of a newly approved antibody drug given to infants to prevent RSV infection.
There’s been a substantial increase in the amount of RSV cases in the United States. So much that it has become the most commonly identified respiratory virus causing disease in children. On Monday the CDC said that infants less than six months who have chronic lung disease, heart conditions or have other underlying conditions should be given priority due to the shortage.
“The alert that was issued yesterday by the CDC is that there a shortage of one of the formulations,” said Dr. Cecilia Di Pentima, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Baystate Children’s Hospital.
That formulation is called Nirsevimab. It was approved recommended by the CDC for infants born just before or during the RSV season and for those less than eight months old before the season starts.
Nirsevimab, the new monoclonal antibody, is recommended for those babies born during the RSV season for those under eight months of age and for those babies who are eight to 19 months of age, only if they have high risk conditions,” said Dr. Di Pentima.
Dr. Di Pentima says that in an effort to use the new monoclonal more wisely, the CDC recommends to use the old monoclonal antibody in the meantime, “The difference between Nirsevimab, the new monoclonal, and Palizumab is that Palizumab has to be given every month during the RSV season while Nirsevimab is a single shot.”
She says most babies have probably already received the old monoclonal antibody. So if babies continue using it, doctors will will have the new monoclonal antibody for other infants who are born in the RSV season and those who are less than six months of age.
U.S. health officials have also recommended RSV vaccinations for moms-to-be. It’s a new option to protect newborns from serious lung infections.