This study states that Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an acute respiratory viral infection which can result in severe disease and death particularly for young infants, is being increasingly recognized as an important cause of morbidity and mortality globally. Shi et al have estimated that globally RSV-associated lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) accounted for between 94 600 and 149 400 deaths annually. In addition, 33 million RSV-associated LRTI resulted in 3.2 million hospital admissions.1 The authors also describe a higher burden in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) suggesting that these populations may benefit most from a future intervention. These estimates, however, have some limitations, particularly due to lack of data from several high burden areas including sub-Saharan Africa and limited data in narrow age bands for younger children, where the burden is usually highest and in whom future interventions are likely to be targeted.

Recently, significant progress has been made in the development of a range of RSV vaccine candidates, in particular for the protection of infants via maternal immunization. In addition, new longer acting monoclonal antibodies that can protect children for several months are in late-stage clinical development. These developments have ignited interest in this area. Accurate estimates of RSV-related health burden including costs are needed to undertake economic evaluations comparing the cost-effectiveness of alternative interventions.

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