Infants and young children are particularly susceptible to RSV, a serious respiratory virus. But new preventive measures are on the horizon and making these interventions accessible for all infants should be a priority.
Today the National Coalition for Infant Health released a position paper, “Monoclonal Antibodies: Inclusion in the Vaccines for Children Program.” The paper explains that monoclonal antibodies to treat RSV should be included on the list of vaccines available for infants and children.
Monoclonal antibodies give the immune system protective antibodies to fight off a specific disease. While they aren’t traditional vaccines, they are considered vaccine-like since they serve the same purpose: protecting the body from illness.
And recently, monoclonal antibodies have emerged as a viable way to protect infants and children from RSV.
The Dangers of RSV
Respiratory syncytial virus poses a serious threat to infants and young children. Nearly all children contract RSV before they are two years old. And for infants under the age of one, RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization and can be life-threatening. From serious symptoms to long-term health consequences, the virus takes a heavy toll on infants and their families.
Despite the severity and prevalence of RSV, there isn’t a vaccine.
Antibodies for Tiny Bodies
Monoclonal antibodies would give infants and young children a much-needed protective measure against RSV.
Including these interventions in the Vaccines for Children program would make them accessible. With the program covering the cost of the monoclonal antibodies, families that can’t afford these interventions would still be able to access the treatment and protect their children.
Given how common and how dangerous RSV is for babies and young children, protection should be standard – not based on a family’s financial status. And including monoclonal antibodies in the Vaccines for Children program will encourage insurance companies to provide coverage as well. It will ensure as many children as possible have access.
By countering RSV, monoclonal antibodies can play an important role in infant health care. To learn more, read “Monoclonal Antibodies: Inclusion in the Vaccines for Children Program.”