HAMPSHIRE Hospitals has helped discover a preventative treatment for the UK’s leading cause of infant hospitalisation.

A study, at Hampshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s (HHFT) Basingstoke and Winchester hospitals alongside other health care providers in Hampshire and across the UK, looked at how babies can be protected from serious illness due to Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections by giving them a single dose of Nirsevimab, a monoclonal antibody immunisation.

The new treatment can reduce the requirement for hospital admissions by more than 80 per cent.

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Following its initial successes, in which Hampshire Hospitals featured as one of the highest recruiters to the trial in Wessex, the study has been extended for a further year to help determine the period of protection by the one-off antibody injection.

RSV affects 90 per cent of children before the age of two and while it often causes only mild illnesses, for some babies it can lead to severe lung problems such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

Adejumoke Awoseyila and Lucinda Winckworth, principal investigators for the HARMONIE study at HHFT, said: “Each year we treat more than 400 babies across our hospitals who are unwell because of RSV infections, with the virus a leading cause of hospital admissions amongst infants in the winter months.

“These results look very promising, with Nirsevimab reducing the chance of babies getting unwell with RSV infection or needing hospital treatment. We are very pleased to continue our involvement in this exciting and important study, looking towards the future of how we manage RSV infections and care for some of our smallest patients.”