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Respiratory Syncytial Virus Challenge Study

Frequently Asked Questions

What is RSV?

Respiratory syncytial virus, RSV, is a contagious virus that causes a common cold or flu-like illness. Healthy adults usually have cold symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal and sinus congestion, headache, coughing, or earache) and generally get better in a week without any serious problems.

What will happen to me during RSV challenge?

If you enter our study, you will spend the night in the hospital for approximately one to two weeks. The hospital will provide you with meals and a room with an attached bathroom. We recommend you bring any personal items such as toiletries and clothing. On your first day in the hospital, you will meet the team of doctors and nurses taking care of you every day. You will also have blood tests (including a pregnancy test if you are a woman) and nasal rinses. On the second day, you will receive a dose of RSV given as small drops in your nose. You only receive one dose of RSV. For the rest of your stay, we will study how your body responds to RSV by asking you how you feel. We will observe any changes in your body, including tests checking your blood, nasal rinse, and breathing ability. You will remain at the hospital after you receive RSV and up until your tests show you have cleared the virus. After you are released from the hospital, you will have two to three outpatient clinic visits over the next six months.

How sick could I get from RSV?

Since most people have already had the common cold caused by RSV, you may remain completely well or you may develop some cold and flu-like symptoms. We can’t predict ahead of time who will become sick and who will not. Healthy adults should not become seriously ill.

Will there be any limitations on my daily life during the study or afterwards?

You will remain in your room during your hospital stay. If you need to leave your room for any medical testing, you will need to wear a mask over your nose and mouth. After going home, you will have no limitations in your daily activity.

Can I spread RSV to my friends and family?

RSV can be contagious so we do not allow you to go home until our tests show that you have cleared RSV. Your friends and family cannot visit you while you’re at the hospital. 

Content last reviewed on July 15, 2015