Respiratory Syncytial Virus Protein Structure, Function and Implications for Subunit Vaccine Development

Michael McCarthy; Tonya Villafana; Elizabeth Stillman; Mark T Esser


Future Virology. 2014;9(8):753-767. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of respiratory infections in infants and a significant cause of respiratory infections in the elderly and adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. Despite more than 50 years of research, there are no RSV vaccines approved or in Phase III clinical trials. Key challenges include peak disease in infants less than 3 months of age and immunosenescence in the elderly. Due to advances in RSV immunology and structural biology, there is renewed interest in developing an RSV vaccine, with many vaccines in development. Here, we describe the epidemiology of RSV, the RSV virion structure, key neutralizing epitopes on the pre- and post-fusion forms of the fusion protein and implications for vaccine development.