Article | July 26, 2022

Challenges In Developing Effective Therapeutics Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection

Source: Aragen Bioscience, Inc.

By Elizabeth Stillman, Ph.D., and Nagendra Ningaraj, Ph.D., MBA, CCRP, Aragen Life Sciences

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Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, causing cold-like symptoms and often progressing to a lower respiratory tract infection (e.g., bronchiolitis, pneumonia). Older adults, subject to immune senescence or other comorbidities, are the other group most negatively impacted by RSV.

However, despite more than 50 years of vaccine research and numerous studies exploring therapeutics, to date, only one drug has been approved for prophylactic administration in infants at high risk for serious complications due to RSV infection.

Most people become seropositive by the age of two and it is common for people to be infected with RSV multiple times throughout their lives. In healthy adults, RSV symptoms are typically mild and may be thought of as a common cold. A person might not even realize they are infected.

The main hurdle toward developing an RSV vaccine is the virus’ multiple mechanisms of evading immunity. Specifically, RSV reinfects people throughout their lives with relatively low genetic variation compared to other ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses.

Aragen’s 15,000-square-foot vivarium and laboratory in Morgan Hill, CA, is designed specifically to serve our partners who need IND-enabling preclinical studies. We've run these studies for more than a decade and, as such, we can run a number of different types of animal models directly relevant to future clinical stage development of anti-RSV drugs and vaccines.

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