Respiratory syncytial virus seasonality and prevention strategy planning for passive immunisation of infants in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study.


We included 52 LMICs in this study on the basis of the availability of RSV seasonality data and developed a mathematical model to compare the effect of different RSV passive immunisation approaches (seasonal approaches vs a year-round approach). For each candidate approach, we calculated the expected annual proportion of RSV incidence among infants younger than 6 months averted (effectiveness) and the ratio of per-dose cases averted between that approach and the year-round approach (relative efficiency).

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) represents a substantial burden of disease in young infants in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Because RSV passive immunisations, including maternal vaccination and monoclonal antibodies, can only grant a temporary period of protection, their effectiveness and efficiency will be determined by the timing of the immunisation relative to the underlying RSV seasonality. We aimed to assess the potential effect of different approaches for passive RSV immunisation of infants in LMICs.

In LMICs with clear RSV seasonality, seasonal approaches to monoclonal antibody and maternal vaccine administration might optimise disease prevention by dose given compared with year-round administration. More data are needed to clarify if seasonal administration of RSV monoclonal antibodies or maternal immunisation is programmatically suitable and cost effective in LMICs.

39 (75%) of 52 LMICs included in the study had clear RSV seasonality, defined as having more than 75% of annual RSV cases occurring in 5 or fewer months. In these countries with clear RSV seasonality, the seasonal approach in which monoclonal antibody administration began 3 months before RSV season onset was only a median of 16% (IQR 13-18) less effective in averting RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) hospital admissions than a year-round approach, but was a median of 70% (50-97) more efficient in reducing RSV-associated hospital admissions per dose. The seasonal approach that delivered maternal vaccination 1 month before the season onset was a median of 27% (25-33) less effective in averting hospital admissions associated with RSV-ALRI than a year-round approach, but was a median of 126% (87-177) more efficient at averting these hospital admissions per dose.

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