UW researchers develop RSV vaccine; human trials underway

University of Washington researchers have developed a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus, which is commonly known as RSV.

The vaccine is undergoing testing in human clinical trials. 

"(The vaccine) is marching forward in clinical development," said Neil King, whose UW Medicine lab in the UW Medicine Institute for Protein Design pioneered the vaccine nanoparticle technology.

Cases of RSV are on the rise in Washington state. 

Health experts said the virus is spreading rapidly across the nation and in Washington. Its symptoms mimic a common cold that people can treat themselves. However, it can become very severe for those with compromised immune systems and those who are elderly.

The high volume of RSV cases is putting even more strain on the overwhelmed healthcare system still dealing with the effects of COVID-19, not to mention the looming worry of this year’s influenza season.

UW said the vaccine showed promise in Phase 1 trial results published earlier this year. A new trial is testing a slightly altered version of the shot in the form of a bivalent vaccine against both RSV and human metapneumovirus (HMPV).

Older adults are enrolled to receive the bivalent vaccine in the current trial. Initial results are expected in mid-2023.