This study states that Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the main causes of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) and commonly leads to pneumonia or bronchiolitis.1 The pattern of RSV infection in humans shows a U-shaped age curve, with peak disease rates in those younger than 5 years and older than 65 years.2 A recent epidemiological study on children showed an estimated 33.1 million RSV-ALRI episodes globally in 2015, which resulted in about 3.2 million hospitalisations; around 45% of the hospitalised patients were younger than 6 months old. The estimated annual number of deaths was 59 600 in children aged younger than 5 years, with 46% happening in children younger than 6 months.3 In the elderly, several studies have shown that RSV is an important cause of illness in community-dwelling older people.4, 5 RSV may cause a similar burden of disease to non-pandemic influenza A in older age groups.6 RSV is annually associated with around 177 000 hospitalisations and 14 000 deaths in US adults aged 65 years or older.6

In 1955, RSV was first isolated from a chimpanzee with respiratory symptoms and designated chimpanzee coryza agent. RSV is an enveloped RNA virus and belongs to the family of Paramyxoviridae, classified within the genus Pneumovirus.

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