RSV: Not Just a Common Cold

RSV, Not Just a Common Cold

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is an easily transmittable virus that affects the lungs and airways. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just a common cold; it’s symptoms are similar to COVID-19 and the flu, in at risk populations. The illnesses caused by RSV include pneumonia, severe asthma flares, severe COPD flares, congestive heart failure and respiratory failure.

Adults, over the age of 60, are at risk for severe illness due to RSV. 177,000+ adults are hospitalized each year, as symptoms can last several days or weeks. Additionally, children under 5 years of age are also at increased risk for severe illnesses caused by RSV. Each year, 58,000+ young children are hospitalized due to these symptoms.

While older children and younger adults may only experience mild, cold-like symptoms, if they contract RSV, these individuals can be contagious for 3 to 8 days. The virus can then spread through direct contact to infect more vulnerable populations. Some infants, and adults with weakened immune systems, can spread the virus even after they stop showing symptoms, for as long as 4 weeks.

RSV season occurs in most regions in the U.S. during fall, winter and spring. Not all adults who contract RSV will show symptoms. Older adults, especially those with chronic heart or lung disease, as well as those with weakened immune symptoms, must take necessary precautions to prevent infection. These precautions include washing your hands often, keeping your hands off your face, avoiding close contact with sick people, covering your coughs and sneezes, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and staying home whenever you feel sick.

There is no vaccine to prevent RSV infection yet, although scientists are working hard to do so. It is critical that this area of research continues to advance so that we can protect our most vulnerable populations. Research relies on voluntary participation of individuals who are able, and willing, to donate their time to progressing the future of medicine, and impacting current and future generations. Accellacare is now inviting up to 25,000 adults, at least 60 years of age, to participate in a global clinical trial to investigate means of preventing RSV infection. Participation in this study includes 2.5 to 3 years of participation, including 4-5 scheduled visits, one injection (either the investigational RSV vaccine or placebo, depending on your assigned group), donation of blood samples and the completion of diary cards for 30 days, following your injection.