Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have identified the structure of a critical RSV component called the fusion glycoprotein.
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Healthy individuals recover from RSV infection in 1 to 2 weeks. However, infection can be severe in some people, such as infants, young children, and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of bronchitis and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States. Understanding the structure of the RSV fusion glycoprotein allows scientist to also identify the site of antibody vulnerability on the virus. This new structural information will help scientist design vaccines that can elicit potent antibodies aimed at the vulnerability site of the virus.