A deadly virus that surged among young children after lockdown will be treated by preventive vaccines within five years, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group has said.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes mild, cold-like symptoms for most, but can be deadly for infants and the elderly.
In the UK, RSV is responsible for around 30,000 paediatric hospitalisations and 83 deaths every year, estimates suggest. Among adults, the figures are even higher with 175,000 GP appointments, 14,000 hospitalisations and 8,000 deaths.
Typically spiking for six weeks in the winter, RSV puts significant strain on paediatric units. But for the last two years the virus has surged earlier in the year, in the summer months.
Professor Andrew Pollard, chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said we are still in a “funny post-pandemic phase” when it comes to the spread of the virus.
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