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Clin Infect Dis. 2010 May 1;50(9):1258-67. doi: 10.1086/651603.

Pharmacologic advances in the treatment and prevention of respiratory syncytial virus.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


Currently, only 2 drugs have been approved for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Palivizumab is a monoclonal antibody for the prevention of RSV in high-risk children. Ribavirin is approved for treatment of severe RSV disease; however, its effectiveness in improving outcomes is questionable. During the past 40 years, many obstacles have delayed the development of safe and effective vaccines and treatment regimens. This article reviews these obstacles and presents the novel development strategies used to overcome many of them. Also discussed are promising new antiviral treatment candidates and their associated mechanism of action, the significant advances made in vaccine development, and exciting, new studies directed at improving outcomes through pharmacologic manipulation of the host response to RSV disease.

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