Although respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was discovered > 40 years ago, treatment remains largely supportive. There are no safe and effective vaccines or specific treatments other than prophylaxis with passive antibody therapy (palivizumab). However, there are good reasons to think that the scene may soon change. As the pace of development of anti-viral drugs accelerates and optimism over vaccines increases, novel therapies are set to make a major impact in the management of this very common infection. The use and effect of such interventions are not easy to anticipate, but could ultimately include the interruption of RSV's transmission resulting in profound changes to the impact of RSV on human health.