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NHS rolls out new vaccine to tackle bronchiolitis-causing winter cough virus RSV

NHS rolls out breakthrough vaccine to tackle bronchiolitis-causing winter cough virus, which hospitalizes 29,000 children and 18,000 adults each year

  • Scientists said Britons will get a new vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
  • NHS data will identify those who stand to benefit most from the new Moderna jab
  • Results show RSV shot 84% effective in preventing cough and fever in the elderly

Children and vulnerable adults could soon receive a breakthrough vaccine to protect them against one of the most common winter bugs.

In a media briefing on Friday, scientists announced the first step in vaccinating eligible Britons against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), best known for causing bronchiolitis with lung problems in young people.

Researchers will use NHS data to identify those who can best benefit from the jab, as part of a government-funded project. These patients will then be recommended to receive the vaccine.

It comes a week after trials by the pharmaceutical company Moderna showed that the RSV shot was 84 percent effective in preventing cough and fever in older adults.

Children and vulnerable adults could soon receive a breakthrough vaccine to protect them against one of the most common winter bugs (stock photo)

Similar research was conducted during the Covid pandemic to identify the highest risk patients who should be prioritized for the vaccine.

RSV hospitalizes about 29,000 children and 18,000 adults each year – and until now no effective vaccine has been available. Experts involved in the study say rolling out the vaccine will drastically reduce hospitalizations.

“RSV vaccines will be available in due course,” said Professor Aziz Sheikh, a research and development expert in primary health care at the University of Edinburgh, who is leading the study.

‘We are preparing the grounds for this.’

The study is part of a unique program where the government is funding 16 research projects designed to prevent another NHS winter crisis.

Scientists announced the first step in vaccinating eligible Britons against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), best known for causing bronchiolitis with lung problems in young people (stock photo)

Scientists announced the first step in vaccinating eligible Britons against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), best known for causing bronchiolitis with lung problems in young people (stock photo)

Other plans include testing whether advanced computer software can reduce ambulance wait times and analyzing the impact of unheated homes on hospitalizations.

The whole scheme will cost around £800,000 and experts believe results could be seen by March.

“I am all too aware of the huge challenges facing the healthcare system this winter,” said Professor Cathie Sudlow, chief scientist at Health Data Research UK – the UK’s institute for health data science.

‘It is critical that we use data quickly and responsibly to support the NHS.’

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