Yes, on August 3, 2023, the CDC approved and recommended the use of Sanofi and AstraZeneca’s nirsevimab (Beyfortus)—a monoclonal antibody treatment for infants and toddlers to protect against severe illness caused by RSV. Caregivers should be mindful that there is a shortage of Beyfortus this RSV season.

Monoclonal antibodies are not vaccines. They are proteins that mimic the antibodies our bodies naturally produce. While there is not currently an approved pediatric vaccine for RSV, monoclonal antibody treatments–like those currently available–provide an extra layer of defense that helps fight RSV and protect infants’ lungs. The protection provided by monoclonal antibodies are more time-limited than vaccines, but they do protect babies at an age when they are most at risk of severe illness from RSV.

Beyfortus is now available by prescription in the United States. One dose of Beyfortus can protect infants for five months, which is the length of an average RSV season. The treatment has been shown to reduce the risk of both hospitalizations and healthcare visits by about 80%. A dose of Beyfortus is recommended for:

  • All infants younger than eight months in their first RSV season. 
  • Children between the ages of eight months and 19 months who are at increased risk of severe RSV disease, such as severely immunocompromised children, in their second RSV season. 

In addition to Beyfortus, palivizumab (Synagis) is currently available for infants and young children with certain health conditions that put them at higher risk for severe RSV infection. Synagis injections must be given monthly during RSV season (typically fall through spring) to provide increased protection.

Beyfortus and Synagis are not treatments for a child who already has an infection. Caregivers to young children are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider to see if either should be used as a preventive measure for their child. If either treatment is recommended, caregivers should ask the pediatrician if their clinical guidance, treatment options, or dosing practices are being impacted by the current Beyfortus shortage.

Added December 14, 2023