Respiratory syncytial virus vaccine: where are we now and what comes next?

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2018 Dec;18(12):1247-1256. doi: 10.1080/14712598.2018.1544239. Epub 2018 Nov 14.


Introduction: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infection in infants and elderly and to date, there is no safe or effective vaccine against RSV.

Areas covered: This review provides a roadmap to RSV vaccine development. It is a journey spanning over more than half a century from the initial disappointment with inactivated formalin vaccine to the current advancements in vaccine technology. We highlight the important aspects of RSV structural biology and protective immune response. We include discussion of newer fusion glycoprotein immune targets and current vaccine candidates. We used Pub Med and Medline resources for literature search.

Expert opinion: A resurgence of information on the burden related to RSV infection coupled with the newer understanding of the molecular mechanism of RSV infection has reignited a tremendous activity in RSV vaccine discovery. The vaccine pipeline is diverse and target populations are varied, thus making the goal of a safe and effective RSV vaccine in the future within reach.

Keywords: Respiratory syncytial virus; T helper cell immunity; vaccine candidates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human / immunology
  • Vaccination* / methods
  • Vaccination* / trends
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / therapeutic use


  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Inactivated