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Palivizumab: a review of its use in the protection of high risk infants against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Authors Joseph M Geskey, Neal J Thomas, Gretchen L Brummel

Published 15 August 2007 Volume 2007:1(1) Pages 33—43


Joseph M Geskey1, Neal J Thomas2, Gretchen L Brummel3

1Divisions of General Pediatrics and 2Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics and Pharmacy;3Pennsylvania State Children’s Hospital, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA

Abstract: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of hospitalization in children less than 1 year of age and causes substantial morbidity. Although there is not currently a vaccine available to prevent RSV infection, prophylaxis with the humanized monoclonal antibody palivizumab has been shown to reduce the rate of RSV hospitalization in premature infants and those infants with chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease. Because palivizumab has not been shown to have a beneficial clinical effect on established RSV disease such as reducing the rate of mechanical ventilation and mortality in children afflicted with RSV, there has been considerable debate as to the cost-benefit ratio of administering palivizumab according to international guidelines. Palivizumab has demonstrated a favorable side-effect profile in clinical trials without the development of anti-palivizumab antibodies. Future studies are needed to determine whether palivizumab, or other more potent monoclonal antibodies which are currently undergoing clinical trials, will reduce the long-term sequelae of RSV infection such as the development of wheezing and asthma.

Keywords: monoclonal antibodies, palivizumab, respiratory syncytial virus, immunoprophylaxis, pediatrics

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