The European Commission has followed the United States in approving the world’s first vaccine for the Respiratory Syncytial Virus, to be used by adults aged 60 and over, its maker GlaxoSmithKline said Wednesday.
“This authorisation for Arexvy means eligible adults can be vaccinated against RSV disease for the first time,” GSK’s chief scientific officer Tony Wood said in a statement.
The United States approved the drug last month, while the vaccine is the culmination of a decades-long hunt to protect vulnerable people from the common illness.
RSV normally causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but can be serious for infants and the elderly, as well as those with weak immune systems and underlying conditions.
In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways deep inside the lungs.
Analysts predict the market could be worth over $10 billion in the next decade, with similar shots from other makers including Pfizer and Moderna expected to follow soon.
GSK said RSV was “a common, contagious respiratory virus that leads to… approximately 20,000 in-hospital deaths each year in adults aged 60 years and over in Europe”.