CDC Panel Recommends RSV Vaccines for Older Adults at High Risk

CDC Panel Recommends RSV Vaccines for Older Adults at High Risk | CIO Women Mgazine

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has made a significant recommendation for the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among older adults. The committee voted to endorse the administration of RSV vaccines for all adults aged 75 and older, as well as for those between 60 and 74 who are at an increased risk of severe RSV due to underlying medical conditions. This decision comes in light of ongoing efforts to mitigate the impact of RSV, a virus that can cause severe respiratory illnesses, particularly in vulnerable populations.

Last year, pharmaceutical giants GSK and Pfizer introduced rival RSV vaccines aimed at adults aged 60 and over. These vaccines were available following consultations with healthcare providers. Recently, Moderna joined the competition after receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its RSV vaccine, mRESVIA, targeting the same age group. In addition, GSK secured FDA approval earlier this month to extend its vaccine’s use to adults aged 50 to 59 who are at increased risk from the illness. However, the ACIP has deferred its endorsement for this younger age group, citing uncertainties in the risk-benefit balance.

Market Impact and Financial Projections

The financial implications of the ACIP’s recommendation were felt immediately across the stock market. Shares of all three vaccine manufacturers experienced declines following the vote. GSK’s U.S.-listed American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) dropped by around 4%, Pfizer’s shares decreased by approximately 2.3%, and Moderna saw a significant plunge of about 10% by late afternoon on Wednesday. Despite these fluctuations, the CDC typically adheres to the ACIP’s recommendations, though the final decision lies with the agency’s director.

ACIP recommendations play a crucial role in guiding physicians on the necessary vaccinations for their patients and also influence insurance coverage in the U.S. Notably, individuals covered by the U.S. government’s Medicare program are eligible to receive ACIP-recommended vaccines at no cost. The endorsement of RSV vaccines for older adults is expected to bolster the uptake of these vaccines and expand coverage for those at higher risk of severe illness.

RSV is a common virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms but can lead to severe respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, particularly in young children and older adults. In the United States, RSV is responsible for approximately 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths annually among older adults. The introduction of effective vaccines aims to reduce this burden significantly.

Comparative Efficacy and Future Outlook

The initial year of availability for the Pfizer and GSK RSV vaccines generated combined revenue exceeding $2.4 billion. Analysts forecast continued strong sales, with expectations of $1.59 billion for GSK’s RSV vaccine, $1.47 billion for Pfizer’s, and $370 million for Moderna’s mRESVIA this year. During the recent ACIP meeting, Moderna presented data indicating its vaccine demonstrated 50% efficacy in preventing RSV over 18 months, a figure lower than the efficacy rates reported by GSK and Pfizer in their clinical trials.

GSK’s Arexvy and Pfizer’s Abrysvo vaccines both showed 78% efficacy in preventing severe RSV over a two-year period. Despite Moderna’s lower efficacy rate, the company has cautioned against direct comparisons, emphasizing differences in trial designs and case criteria for RSV disease. As the market for RSV vaccines evolves, the competition among these pharmaceutical companies is expected to intensify, with ongoing research and development efforts aimed at improving vaccine efficacy and expanding coverage.

The ACIP’s recommendation also includes guidance that adults who have already received an RSV shot are not recommended to receive another dose this year. This decision underscores the importance of targeted vaccination efforts to protect the most vulnerable populations and optimize the use of available vaccines in the fight against RSV.

Also read: US Drug Officials Approve The First RSV Vaccine For Pregnant Women

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