The potential value of a vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for older adults is demonstrated in a recent study.

The report in the journal Vaccine notes that RSV is an important cause of lower respiratory infections and hospitalizations among older adults. Industry researchers sought to estimate the potential clinical benefits and economic value of RSV vaccination in that population in the United States.

The CDC points out that RSV infections can be dangerous for certain adults, with more than 177,000 older adults hospitalized in the U.S. An estimated 14,000 of those adults die each year.

The CDC advises that adults at highest risk for severe RSV infection include:

• those of older age, especially those aged 65 years and older
• those with chronic heart or lung disease
• those with weakened immune systems.

Even though adults with RSV usually have mild, cold-like symptoms, according to the CDC, RSV can sometimes lead to serious conditions such as:

• pneumonia
• more severe symptoms for asthma patients
• more severe symptoms for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.

Study authors developed an economic model to assess outcomes associated with RSV infections in U.S. adults aged 60 years or older occurring during one RSV season for a hypothetical vaccine versus no vaccine. Included were direct medical costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) lost per case, which were obtained from the literature and publicly available sources. Model outcomes also included the population-level clinical and economic RSV disease burden among older adults, potential vaccine-avoidable disease burden, and the potential value-based price of a vaccine from a third-party payer perspective.

Researchers determined, based on analyses, that a vaccine with 50% efficacy and coverage matching that of the influenza vaccination would prevent 43,700 to 81,500 RSV hospitalizations and 8,000 to 14,900 RSV-attributable deaths per RSV season, resulting in 1,800 to 3,900 fewer QALYs lost and saving $557 to $1,024 million.

They add that value-based prices for the co-base-case analyses were $152 to $299 per vaccination at a willingness to pay of $100,000/QALY gained. Sensitivity analyses determined that the economic value of vaccination was most sensitive to RSV incidence and increased posthospitalization mortality risks.

"Despite variability and gaps in the epidemiology literature, this study highlights the potential value of RSV vaccination for older adults in the US," the authors conclude. "Our analysis provides contemporary estimates of the population-level RSV disease burden and insights into the economic value drivers for RSV vaccination."

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

« Click here to return to Vaccine Update.