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Health and economic burden of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease and the cost-effectiveness of potential interventions against RSV among children under 5 years in 72 Gavi-eligible countries.

Abstract

The RSV-associated disease burden among children in these 72 countries is estimated at an average of 20.8 million cases, 1.8 million hospital admissions, 40 thousand deaths, 1.2 million discounted DALYs, and US$611 million discounted direct costs. Strategy 'mAb' is more effective due to its assumed longer duration of protection versus maternal vaccination, but it was also assumed to be more expensive. Given all parameterised uncertainty, the optimal strategy of choice tends to change for increasing willingness to pay (WTP) values per DALY averted from the current situation to maternal vaccination (at WTP > US$1000) to mAB (at WTP > US$3500). The age-specific proportions of cases that are hospitalised and/or die cause most of the uncertainty in the choice of optimal strategy. Results are broadly similar across countries.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) frequently causes acute lower respiratory infection in children under 5, representing a high burden in Gavi-eligible countries (mostly low-income and lower-middle-income). Since multiple RSV interventions, including vaccines and monoclonal antibody (mAb) candidates, are under development, we aim to evaluate the key drivers of the cost-effectiveness of maternal vaccination and infant mAb for 72 Gavi countries.

A static Multi-Country Model Application for RSV Cost-Effectiveness poLicy (MCMARCEL) was developed to follow RSV-related events monthly from birth until 5 years of age. MCMARCEL was parameterised using country- and age-specific demographic, epidemiological, and cost data. The interventions' level and duration of effectiveness were guided by the World Health Organization's preferred product characteristics and other literature. Maternal vaccination and mAb were assumed to require single-dose administration at prices assumed to align with other Gavi-subsidised technologies. The effectiveness and the prices of the interventions were simultaneously varied in extensive scenario analyses. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were the primary health outcomes for cost-effectiveness, integrated with probabilistic sensitivity analyses and Expected Value of Partially Perfect Information analysis.

Both the maternal and mAb strategies need to be competitively priced to be judged as relatively cost-effective. Information on the level and duration of protection is crucial, but also more and better disease burden evidence-especially on RSV-attributable hospitalisation and death rates-is needed to support policy choices when novel RSV products become available.

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