Australia's first RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) vaccine is approved by TGA for over 60s
A vaccine to combat a highly infectious respiratory disease has been approved for use in Australia.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has said Arexvy can be used as a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for Australians aged 60 and over.
More than 25,000 older Australians were diagnosed with the highly infectious disease last year.
“Older patients see a decline in their immunity due to a phenomenon called immunosenescence, which means they cannot mount a good immune response when they are exposed to the virus,” said a Brisbane GP, Anita Sharma.
RSV is highly contagious and can cause mild to moderate illness in younger people, with symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, and aches.
Those with low immunity or co-morbidities including diabetes can suffer more serious symptoms resulting in hospitalisation or time in intensive care, according to Dr Sharma.
Arexvy, a protein-based vaccine, boosts the immune response in those more vulnerable patients.
“Such a vaccine will help reduce the serious outcomes from RSV infections in patients who receive the vaccine,” she said.
Arexvy was the first vaccine approved for use against RSV in the US, with the drug allowed in May 2023.
The Immunisation Foundation of Australia said it was important that older Australians had access vaccines that would protect them from serious illness.
“The announcement of an RSV vaccines ... is a success story for medical research,” said a director, Catherine Hughes.