A potential breakthrough in pediatric health care is on the horizon, as the FDA reviewed documents from Pfizer that suggest their experimental Abrysvo vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus infection is both safe and effective in the younger population. An upcoming advisory committee meeting will determine how this promising new discovery could potentially improve the future of pediatric health care.
Tomorrow, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet to discuss the potential benefits and risks of Abrysvo, a vaccine created by Pfizer. The vaccine, which is meant to be administered during the second or third trimester of pregnancy, could protect babies aged zero to six months against various diseases. The committee wants to weigh the pros and cons of the vaccine to ensure a safe and effective outcome for both mothers and their children.
Pfizer is lending their support to Abrysvo’s Biologics License Application with the data they gathered from five clinical trials, comprising of over 4,100 mothers who have been given the vaccine candidate.
Results indicate a high efficacy of up to 81.1% against laboratory-confirmed severe medically-attended lower respiratory tract infection (MA-LRTI) within 90 days of post-birth and 69.4% at the 180 day mark, showing promise for this innovative vaccine candidate.
Pfizer’s safety report on the maternal vaccination program showed that most reactions to the vaccine were mild or moderate, with serious adverse events, stillbirths, and fetal deaths occurring rarely. The probability of these serious events was evenly spread amongst the placebo and inoculated groups, demonstrating the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety.
Abrysvo proved to be gentle on infants with no greater rate of side effects, such as preterm birth, low biirth weight and developmental delays, between vaccinated and placebo groups. This reassuring result allows parents to rest assured that their loved ones will be safe as they take this medication.
Pfizer’s briefing document revealed that Abrysvo has a “favorable benefit/risk profile”, suggesting that active immunization in pregnant mothers could notably reduce global infant mortality due to RSV, as it could strongly suppress severe MA-LRTI in infants. This has the potential to drastically reduce the number of infant deaths caused by RSV.
Concerns with Safety Data
The FDA analysed the data from Pfizer’s Abrysvo vaccine and noted its success in preventing severe lower respiratory tract diseases caused by RSV in infants. Impressed by the results, the FDA commended this achievement.
Interestingly, the FDA noticed an “imbalance” in the percentage of premature infants in one of the Abrysvo studies. The Phase III, randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled trial revealed that 5.7% of infants in the Abrysvo group were preterm, in contrast to 4.7% among placebo comparators. This difference raised questions regarding Abrysvo’s potential effectiveness for premature babies.
Though the difference of 1% between the two study arms was not deemed statistically significant, the majority of premature births remained near term. In the Abrysvo arm, a total of 5% of all live births transpired between 34 and 37 weeks of gestation. Furthermore, in either study arm, only one single infant had the unfortunate consequence of being born extremely prematurely.
The FDA’s reviewers noted that the safety data for Abrysvo vaccine administration is generally favorable, although there appears to be some potential uncertainty due to the numerical imbalance in premature deliveries. The VRBPAC should consider this carefully as they vote on whether Pfizer’s data can support a favorable risk analysis of Abrysvo.