JAMA Pediatr. Published online December 28, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3235

This study details the experience of using an abbreviated palivizumab dosing schedule in infants at higher risk for respiratory syncytial virus hospitalization.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants younger than 1 year. Premature infants, infants with chronic lung disease, infants with major congenital heart diseases, or infants with severe immunodeficiencies are at highest risk of hospital admission for RSV. Palivizumab, a monoclonal antibody, reduces pulmonary viral replication by 100-fold at serum drug levels greater than 40 μg/mL in the cotton rat model. On the basis of randomized clinical trials, monthly administration of 15 mg/kg of palivizumab reduces hospitalizations by approximately 55% in these infants. However, the costliness of this drug restrains its broader use. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of 5 palivizumab doses in selected risk groups during the RSV season, although pharmacokinetic analyses suggest that equivalent antibody protection may be sustainably achieved with fewer doses.