Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Healthy people typically experience mild, cold-like symptoms and recover in a week or two. However, RSV can be serious, particularly for infants and the elderly. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.
Why Is the Study of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) a Priority for NIAID?
In the United States, nearly all children become infected with RSV by age 2, with 75,000 to 125,000 of them hospitalized each year. Globally, RSV affects an estimated 64 million people and causes 160,000 deaths each year.
How Is NIAID Addressing This Critical Topic?
NIAID conducts and supports basic research on RSV to improve our understanding of the virus and how it causes disease, as well as factors in animals and humans that affect susceptibility to RSV infection. Scientists in NIAID labs and in universities and medical research centers across the United States work together to translate this knowledge into new, safe, and effective ways to treat and prevent RSV.