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Investigación, Salud Materna, Infantil y Reproductiva


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in African pregnant women and children

Azucena Bardají (ISGlobal)
Fundació La Marató de TV3

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of under-five morbidity and mortality, causing an estimated 33.1 million episodes of RSV-acute lower respiratory infections and 48.000-74.500 under-five deaths in 2015. Half of these children´s deaths occur during the first six months of life, and most of them in low and middle-income countries. An RSV maternal immunization strategy is being considered for the prevention of severe RSV disease in infants less than 6 months of age. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises the need for high-quality, safe, effective, affordable and accessible RSV vaccines that prevent severe disease and death in infants, appropriate for use in low and middle-income countries. To achieve this goal WHO consensus priorities stress the need to generate improved global estimates of disease burden through well-conducted epidemiological studies.

The RESPIRE project aims to determine the incidence of acute respiratory infections associated to RSV, and associated mortality and risk factors (including co-morbidities such as HIV and malaria), among pregnant women and children in a rural area of sub-Saharan Africa. This is a health facility-based prospective observational study carried out in pregnant women attending antenatal care and outpatient/inpatient services, and in children hospitalized with WHO-defined clinical criteria for pneumonia. To achieve study objectives, a total of 582 children and 592 pregnant women, respectively, will be recruited during a period of 24 months. Clinical and demographic data will be collected through standardized questionnaires. A nasopharyngeal aspirate will be collected from all study children at enrolment, and a nasopharyngeal swab from all study pregnant women. Respiratory samples will be analysed for RSV detection by molecular methods (TaqMan Array Card technology).

Throughout the next decade, low and middle-income countries will be introducing new lifesaving vaccines into their routine immunization programmes. To ensure meaningful vaccine impact where it is most needed and in the shortest timeframe possible, generating good data and scientific evidence on the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases through maternal immunization is critical. The results of this study will have the potential to guide national recommendations by Ministries of Health, to prepare future steps and planning in the implementation of maternal immunization policies at the national and regional level.

Published Review

Mazur NI, Terstappen J, Baral R, Bardají A, Beutels P, Buchholz UJ, et al. Respiratory syncytial virus prevention within reach: the vaccine and monoclonal antibody landscape. Lancet Infect Dis. 2022 Aug 8:S1473-3099(22)00291-2. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00291-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35952703.

Nuestro equipo

Principal Investigator (PI)

ISGlobal Team

  • Clara Menéndez Santos
    Clara Menéndez Santos
  • Raquel González Alvarez
    Raquel González Alvarez

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