Paediatric Virology and respiratory syncytial virus: An interview with Honorary Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Infectious Diseases Dr Simon B. Drysdale (St. George's, University of London, UK)
- Ioannis N. Mammas
- Demetrios A. Spandidos
Published online on: August 28, 2019
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Dr Simon B. Drysdale, Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and St. George's, University of London, is one of the most talented early career academic specialists in Paediatric Infectious Diseases in the United Kingdom. His main research interest is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); he is particularly interested in understanding the host susceptibility to RSV, the management of RSV infection and associated health economics and the development of treatments and immunisations/vaccines, which are currently lacking. According to Dr Drysdale, RSV is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among young infants and older adults, particularly those with co‑morbidities. While there is ample RSV epidemiological and healthcare cost data available for young infants and children, more data is required for older children and adults. There are currently several antiviral medications for the treatment of RSV infection in development; however, none have yet progressed beyond Phase 2 clinical trials. Multiple types of novel therapeutic molecules have been developed, including fusion and non‑fusion inhibitors and polymerase inhibitors aimed at various RSV targets, such as the F protein and RNA polymerase. In recent years, great strides have been made with regards to an RSV vaccine or monoclonal antibody, with >40 candidates currently in development. A maternal RSV vaccine, which just completed a Phase 3 trial, was shown to have 44% efficacy against hospitalization for RSV lower respiratory tract infection in infants. A new long‑acting monoclonal antibody against RSV infection, having shown excellent promise in a Phase 2 trial in infants, is about to be investigated in a Phase 3 clinical trial commencing shortly.