Clinical trial finds vaccine for common respiratory illness is safe and effective

Published results from a Moderna-sponsored clinical trial – ConquerRSV – show that a new vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is safe and effective.

RSV is common and causes symptoms similar to a cold. The virus is usually mild, but older people, young children and those with a weakened immune system can become very ill.

There’s no specific treatment for RSV, and, until recently, no effective preventative vaccines were available.


Dr Ashley Price

UK lead


ConquerRSV tested Moderna’s mRNA-1345 vaccine in people aged 60 and over. Dr Christopher Duncan, Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Newcastle Hospitals, was UK lead for the trial. Dr Ashley Price, Consultant in Infectious Diseases, was the principal investigator for the Newcastle site.


Protecting patients


In Newcastle, over 80 patients took part in the trial, which was delivered by infectious diseases research team and ran from the National Institute for Health and Care Clinical Research Facility, located at the RVI.

Patients were randomly allocated into groups to either receive the trial drug or a saline placebo. The trial was double-blinded, meaning patients and healthcare staff did not know which had been administered.

The trial results, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that the vaccine effectively prevented against RSV-associated lower respiratory tract disease compared to the placebo dose. The vaccine was generally well tolerated, and no safety concerns were identified.

Dr Chris Duncan

Dr Christopher Duncan, who is also a Medical Research Council Clinician Scientist fellow at Newcastle University, said:

“Despite considerable efforts over the last 30 years, an effective vaccine for RSV has, until recently, remained elusive. This trial, alongside other recent progress, marks a critical step in being able to offer protection to people who need it most.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who took part in the trial and willingly volunteered their time. My thanks also go to the Infectious Diseases research team who set up and delivered the trial at pace.”

Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals are both part of Newcastle Health Innovation Partners (NHIP).


Next steps

Moderna is anticipating application for licensure of mRNA-1345 in 2024. In the UK, the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended to the UK government that an NHS RSV vaccination programme be initiated.

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