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Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2013 Jun;9(6):1263-7. doi: 10.4161/hv.24096. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Vaccination against RSV: is maternal vaccination a good alternative to other approaches?

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Centre for infectious Diseases Control; National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM); Bilthoven, the Netherlands.


The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the major cause of lower respiratory tract illness (LRI) in infants worldwide. Also persons with heart/lung disease or an immunodeficiency disorder, and the elderly are at increased risk for severe LRI upon RSV infection. Although there is at present no licensed RSV vaccine available, it is a priority target for several vaccine developers. For the implementation of a future RSV vaccination within national immunization schemes, various strategies can be considered even without the availability of extended clinical data on RSV vaccines. For this purpose, the extensive knowledge on RSV with respect to disease pathology, epidemiology and immunology can be used. This article discusses different aspects that should be considered to enable a successful implementation of a new RSV vaccine in national immunization programs. In addition, gaps in knowledge that needs further attention are identified. The maternal immunization strategy is highlighted, but also vaccination in the youngest infants and specific risk group immunization strategies are evaluated in this paper. Key factors such as the seasonality of RSV disease, interference of maternal antibodies and the immaturity of the infants' immune system are addressed.


RSV; immunology; infant immunization; maternal immunization; risk groups; seasonality; vaccination strategy

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