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Pfizer RSV vaccine maintains protection in older adults during two trial seasons

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Respiratory syncytial virus vial.

Manjurul | Istock | Getty Images

PfizerThe respiratory syncytial virus vaccine maintained protection in older adults through two full seasons of the disease in an ongoing late-stage clinical trial, the company announced Thursday.

Vaccine effectiveness declined slightly from protection levels after one season of RSV, but new data suggest that the vaccine generally provides lasting protection for adults aged 60 and older, who are more vulnerable to severe illness from to RSV. The launch of Pfizer’s vaccine, known as Abrysvo, and another RSV vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline Last year proved a boon for both companies, with the vaccines worth hundreds of millions of dollars in just six months on the market.

A single dose of Pfizer’s vaccine was found to be 77.8% effective against more severe lower respiratory illnesses with three or more symptoms in a second season, down from 88% effectiveness. 9% after the end of a season. These symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, rapid, shallow breathing, and mucus production.

The vaccine was about 55.7% effective against a less severe form of the disease with two or more symptoms after the end of the second season, according to initial data on more than 37,000 participants in the northern and southern hemispheres. The vaccine showed 66.7% effectiveness against this disease after one season of RSV.

Pfizer noted that the vaccine showed consistent effectiveness against RSV A and RSV B, which are the two main subtypes of the virus, after the second RSV season. The vaccine was specifically 80% or more effective against each type in patients with the most severe form of lower respiratory disease.

No new adverse events were reported by patients after both seasons.

The findings come Thursday ahead of a meeting of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee, which will consider whether older adults should get RSV vaccines every year or every two years.

Analysts do not expect the committee to make a final recommendation until June – a decision that could have huge implications for Modernwhich hopes to launch its own RSV vaccine this year.

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Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said in a note last week that the company sees a 50% to 70% chance that the panel will recommend annual vaccination, which would allow Moderna to achieve “market share at less equivalent” to that of Pfizer and GSK. A biennial recommendation based on GSK’s shot data over two seasons “would reduce the competitive positioning” of Moderna, he noted.

In older adults, GSK’s vaccine showed a cumulative effectiveness of 67.2% against lower respiratory diseases over two RSV seasons. This compares with 82.6% after one season of the virus.

GSK’s vaccine had sales of around £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) last year. Meanwhile, Pfizer’s vaccine, which is also approved for pregnant women who can pass protection to their children, saw revenue of around $890 million in 2023.

RSV kills 6,000 to 10,000 elderly people and hospitalizes 60,000 to 160,000 each year, according to the CDC.

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