Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Health

US urges makers of infant RSV shots to meet winter demand

(Reuters) – U.S. officials met with manufacturers of the infant and toddler RSV immunization Beyfortus this week seeking to boost access to the shot, the White House said in a statement on Thursday after senior Biden administration officials met with the companies last week.

The officials on Tuesday met with representatives of Sanofi , AstraZeneca and Thermo Fisher “and urged them to work expeditiously to meet demand for immunizations this winter season through the commercial market,” the White House said in a statement.

Beyfortus, an antibody therapy developed by AstraZeneca and Sanofi, was approved by U.S. regulators in July to prevent respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants and toddlers.

The drug has been in tight supply since October. U.S. cases of RSV began to trend upward sharply in mid-October, which has continued, though cases are still below multiyear highs hit last winter, according to government data.

The companies have committed to producing tens of thousands of additional RSV immunizations for infants and sped up the release of 77,000 doses of the drug so far, according to the White House.

“The demand for Beyfortus has far surpassed any previous standard. Although we are on track to deliver all doses initially ordered in the U.S., we are committed to doing more,” AstraZeneca said in a statement.

Sanofi said it remains in close contact with U.S. officials to deliver doses of Beyfortus. A Thermo Fisher spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting or its role in Beyfortus. According to a Sanofi spokesperson, Thermo Fisher has been contracted by AstraZeneca to fill syringes with the drug substance.

RSV is the top cause of hospitalization among infants, leading to around 1% to 3% of children under 12 months of age being hospitalized in the United States each year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

(This Dec.7 story has been corrected to say syringes, not vials, in paragraph 7)

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Katharine Jackson in Washingtion and Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Rami Ayyub, Bill Berkrot and Matthew Lewis)

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