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North Carolina pharma companies on the frontlines of RSV fight

A vaccine clinic in Lynwood, Calif., offering free flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Experts are using the word "tripledemic" for rises in COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Mark J. Terrill
/
AP
A vaccine clinic in Lynwood, Calif., offering free flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Experts are using the word "tripledemic" for rises in COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Two pharmaceutical companies with North Carolina ties are working on vaccines and treatments for respiratory syncytial virus — otherwise known as RSV — that has made a resurgence this year.

Cases of the respiratory virus are surging around the world.

Earlier this year, Pfizer purchased ReViral, a Durham-based company developing RSV treatments.

Founded in 2011, ReViral’s U.K. headquarters are located in a bioscience park in Hertfordshire, about 29 miles north of London. Its U.S. headquarters are on Meridian Parkway in Durham. Pfizer has a large presence in Research Triangle Park and employs about 3,600 people in North Carolina.

The antiviral pill called sisunatovir has shown promising results in clinical trials. Earlier this month, Pfizer recently announced a partnership with Chinese biotech firm LianBio to mass-produce the drug in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.

Pfizer is also working on an RSV vaccine, which could be approved for use in older adults next year.

British drug maker GSK, whose US headquarters in Research Triangle Park, says its vaccine is 94 percent effective in preventing serious illness in people age 60 and older.

Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.
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