As RSV dominates the headlines, vaccine companies are scrambling to get an RSV vaccine on the market for fall 2023.

Several RSV vaccines have been created, thus far, and are in various stages of development. At this point, Pfizer’s RSV vaccine seems to be the most promising for the pediatric population.

Here are a Few (But Not All) of the RSV Vaccine Contenders:

1. Pfizer has announced encouraging results from a late-stage clinical trial for their RSV vaccine. This vaccine is given to pregnant women (rather than to their babies).

How Does This Work? The vaccine stimulates Mom-to-be to make antibodies against RSV and these antibodies get passed to the fetus through the placenta (and, later, through Mom’s breast milk if she decides to breastfeed).

The Stats: So far, the vaccine has shown to be 82% effective against severe illness from RSV during a baby’s first 3 months of life and 69% effective for his/her first 6 months of life.1

What’s Next: Pfizer officials hope to submit their findings to the FDA by the end of 2022 and to get their vaccine approved for use for the next RSV season.

Insider Info: Pfizer has an RSV vaccine for older adults in the works, too.

2. GlaxoSmithKline (Try saying that Ten Times Fast) has developed an RSV vaccine for older adults that’s also in a late-stage clinical trial and is yielding favorable results, as well. However, their RSV vaccine trial for pregnant woman was halted in the spring of 2022 due to safety concerns.2

3. Janssen, Moderna, and Novavax are in the mix as well, although their vaccines focus mostly on adults. (That being said, Novavax is currently testing out a version of its RSV vaccine in kids 2-6 years of age.)

Thinking Outside the Vaccine Box:
In addition, AstraZeneca and Sanofi have joined forces and created a long-acting antibody injection (called Beyfortus) that protects babies against severe RSV infections. Even though Beyfortus is protective against RSV, it’s not considered a vaccine.

Beyfortus is given shortly after birth and may protect infants from the virus for as long as 6 months. Clinical trials showed that it was 75% effective at staving off severe RSV infections.3 The European Commission is a fan of Beyfortus and recently approved its use in the E.U. The U.S. may not be far behind.

The Bottom Line

Because RSV is a virus (and can’t be treated with antibiotics), pediatricians haven’t had many tools in their arsenal to combat it (aside from “supportive care” in the form of fever reducers, IV fluids, and respiratory support, when needed). Now, as we battle through an intense RSV season, there’s a potential light at the end of the RSV tunnel for fall 2023.