Michael Petrosky, MD, of the Allegheny Health Network, spoke about how parents can prevent their child from spreading respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the availability of monoclonal antibodies for all infants.
Michael Petrosky, MD, of the Allegheny Health Network, discussed availability of monoclonal antibodies and how else we can reduce the spread of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Will monoclonal antibodies be available to all, regardless of insurance?
That's definitely the overall goal. We're hoping by October. So I know that's sort of just right around the corner, we get a lot of these in the offices or out in the communities where we can do vaccinations. And the CDC is pushing to get this covered under a program we use a lot, the VFC, which stands for Vaccines for Children, which covers the kids without insurance or medical assistance. So those kids were able to get vaccinated and protected as much as everyone else. And when you look at how much it benefits, when they've done studies, people that got these monoclonal antibodies for RSV, the infants, hospitalizations dropped dramatically. And we know a lot of things, some things come down to cost and money. We know that preventing a hospital visit can save a whole lot of money. So using these vaccines should help overall make children healthier [and] a whole area healthy, but also help reduce costs.
What can parents do to slow the spread of RSV this season?
So a lot of things that we've talked about we've known before, a lot of people learned a lot during the initial pandemic of COVID-19, is that a lot of people would send kids to school sick or send kids to daycare sick, parents would go to work sick, and we know that if you're actively ill, and you're around other people, you have a higher chance of spreading it. We found out masks work in reducing the risk of certain transmission of a lot of infections. Early on when masking was pretty regulated and tight, we saw a whole lot less of flu, RSV, COVID-19, a lot of other things going on, so we know that can help.
It's not as effective in an infant because we know they're [unlikely to] wear masks but if they're around someone that's sick, wearing a mask can definitely help. Good hygiene, handwashing helps minimize the spread. But overall, good [protection of the] immune system is good, a well-balanced diet. For infants, I mean, most of their calories are coming from breast milk or formula, but also getting [a healthy diet], those things can help. And then the the big thing is the vaccine stuff. I mean, we know that's an easy 1-stop [option]. The ability to start vaccinating these young infants with 1 dose throughout the whole season of RSV, we know that will help [with the] spread of the illness because the child themselves won't get sick, the virus won't replicate inside of them, and then they won't be able to pass it on to others.