An experimental drug shows promise in treating respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a leading cause of pneumonia in infants, researchers report.
"We are finally making major progress in being able to treat human RSV infections -- the world's second leading cause of serious viral pneumonia, second only to influenza virus," said study author Dr. John DeVincenzo, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis.
"There is no current treatment or vaccine for RSV pneumonia, and so patients were previously forced to get over the virus by themselves," he said. RSV is the leading cause of hospitalization among infants in the United States, the researchers noted.
In this small study of 140 adults, the drug, dubbed GS-5806, reduced the amount of the virus in the systems of those who received the medication.
"For the first time, we showed that once we reduce the amount of virus in patients, they very quickly started to feel better," DeVincenzo said.