Medicines to prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection

Preventive medicines are usually used only for babies and children who have a higher risk of having complications if they become infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). These medicines are not used to treat someone who already has RSV infection.

Palivizumab (Synagis) is a medicine containing laboratory-produced antibodies designed to help prevent RSV infections. RSV infections that develop despite being given this medicine are usually less severe. Palivizumab is given by injection into the muscle (intramuscular, or IM) once a month during the winter months.

No standard preventive immunization exists because there is more than one type of RSV and many subtypes (strains). Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine that is effective for the general population at a reasonable cost.

Last Updated: July 16, 2008

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