14 November 2022
Five-week-old twin girls, Quinn and Fiadh, have become the first recruits to the RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) trial taking place at the Royal Free London.
Their mother, Miranda Ryan, 37, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire, said she was keen for both her daughters to take part in the trial because her job as a sister on the neonatal ward at Barnet Hospital meant she had seen first-hand the damage the virus could do.
After consenting the twins to the randomised trial Miranda found out that only Quinn would be receiving the one-off vaccination dose although she will continue to send an electronic diary entries to the paediatric team and take part in virtual follow up appointments over the next year, providing information about both her daughters’ health.
Miranda said: “Obviously I’m a bit disappointed they didn’t both receive the vaccine but I am glad that out of the two Quinn got it. They were four weeks premature and Quinn was born second. She has been jaundiced and just seems to be a bit more poorly than her sister. Any tears from the vaccine are worth it in my mind for the protection I’m hopeful it will provide.”
Miranda added: “I heard about the trial through a colleague’s Instagram and I saw posters about it. I wanted to take part because in my job I see the breathing difficulties that babies experience and they can go downhill very quickly.”
Dr Blaise Murghu, paediatric registrar and a sub investigator on the trial, said: “If you go to our A&E right now you will find between two and four children under 12 months in there with RSV and we’ll need to admit them if they are struggling for breath and having difficulty feeding. Once admitted they will spend between two or three days with us or sometimes longer if they need to go to ICU.
“At the moment all we can offer is supportive care in the form of oxygen and supportive feeding. For most babies the symptoms will be a cold but some babies can become extremely poorly and develop broncholitis or pneumonia and in some cases it can be fatal.”
Cynthia Diaba, senior clinical research nurse for paediatrics, said: “This trial is very exciting for staff and for families. Nirsevimab has already been shown to be safe and if proven to be effective in this large trial then I suspect it will be rolled out as quickly as possible.”
The ground-breaking HARMONIE study is taking place at several London hospitals and is a collaboration between Sanofi, its partner AstraZeneca, and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).
Pictured: Cynthia Diaba and Miranda Ryan with Fiadh (wearing pink) and Quinn (wearing grey).