Just in time for the beginning of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season, WVU Medicine Children’s is now offering an antibody injection to protect against it.
Nirsevimab (Beyfortus®) is an FDA-approved antibody immunization that is given like a shot. It creates passive immunity from RSV, which is different than a vaccine.
The injection is now being offered at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital and clinics in the Morgantown area.
“We all have antibodies that we make on a daily basis,” Jeffrey Lancaster, M.D., associate chief medical officer for WVU Medicine Children’s, said. “Those antibodies can attach to a virus or bacteria and neutralize it. Monoclonal antibodies are made scientifically against a specific part of RSV. Nirsevimab makes sure RSV cannot attach to our cells and get into our bodies.”
All patients who are eight months old and younger qualify for the antibody injection.
“We would recommend it for every baby born during RSV season, starting now through March and probably April,” Dr. Lancaster said. “You’ll hear a pediatrician talk about it and say there’s something that can protect your baby from severe RSV.”
New babies born during RSV season should get the antibody at their first pediatrician visit. Parents will be given information when they are discharged from the hospital after birth.
RSV is the leading cause of hospitalizations in children who are less than a year old.
If your child is having difficulty breathing or breathing too fast, showing blueness in the face or body, taking long pauses when breathing, or is dehydrated, seek medical care immediately.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have a great cure for it, but we do have great treatments to get through,” Lancaster said. “It is a viral infection, so antibiotics don’t help. These treatments, along with supportive care like nasal suctioning, fever control, and adequate hydration will help to keep your baby their healthiest.”
Nirsevimab is still being distributed to WVU Medicine Children’s providers across West Virginia and the surrounding region. Check with your child’s doctor for availability.
To schedule an appointment, contact your pediatrician’s office or an outpatient clinic or call 855-WVU-CARE.
For more information on WVU Medicine Children’s, visit WVUKids.com.
Original story posted on WVU Medicine's news site.