Respiratory syncytial virus vaccination

Published on April 30, 2024   29 min

Other Talks in the Series: Periodic Reports: Advances in Clinical Interventions and Research Platforms

Other Talks in the Series: Vaccines

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A warm welcome to this Henry Stewart talk on respiratory syncytial virus vaccination. It's a most exciting time in the field. For those of us who have been working in this area for many years, we finally do have things which are going to make a huge difference. So please stick with the talk right through to the end.
Now on this first slide, we talk about learning objective, we want to review the recent data on vaccination against RSV and its potential impact on public health.
On this next slide, you can see what a lot of common cold viruses that are something like a couple of hundred serologically distinct viruses, all of which crowd into the respiratory space. Maybe that's no surprise because a really ideal way of survival for a virus is to infect the respiratory mucosa and to pass to other people either by droplets or sprays or aerosols or by direct contact through surfaces. For the virus which has struggled to perpetuate itself in some other method of transmission, what is better than becoming a common cold? RSV is one of the most important viruses in childhood in particular.
This is just a bit of background detail for those of you who like beautiful colored images of what viruses look like. I think we used to think of the virus as a bit of an amorphous blob. When I did my PhD on it in the 1980s, I found various amorphous blobs on EM. But this new understanding of the structure is quite fascinating. You can see some red elements on this graphic which are the fusion proteins. The major surface glycoprotein G probably is mostly around this little tip of this graphic not being so well imaged. But the virus attaches to the cell and then fuses with it, injecting the RNA which you can see in the middle of the graphic in blue. A lot of the initial gene transcription is of the nonstructural proteins which essentially disable the immune response and allow repeated infections with the same strain of virus. The way the virus gets back in repeatedly is a bit different from things like, influenza where you see a lot of evolution of the virus. With RSV, it does evolve but relatively slowly. But its main weapon against our immune system is the ability to disable it and to induce a state of immunological amnesia.