A vaccine created by Novavax has become the first to show efficacy in protecting again the ultra common respiratory syncytial virus, a major respiratory pathogen in infants, children, and adults around the globe.

Data from a Phase II trial of the jab show statistically significant efficacy in the prevention of all symptomatic RSV disease (44%) and RSV disease with symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection (46%) in older adults.

According to Novavax, the observed efficacy against RSV - the first seen in any population - was “similar to or better than multiple recent effectiveness estimates for a number of licensed respiratory vaccines tested in older adults”.

“It is clear that our RSV F Vaccine provided statistically significant efficacy in older adults, a population that historically has been difficult to protect,” said Gregory Glenn, who heads up Research and Development at the firm. “The reduction in symptomatic RSV, RSV with lower respiratory tract illness and RSV associated with difficulty breathing are breakthrough results”.

The biotech is hoping to kick off a pivotal Phase III trial as early as the fourth quarter of this year, if discussions with regulators are successful, placing the jab in a solid position to become the world’s first licensed RSV vaccine.

Analysts expect a successful RSV vaccine to pull in around $1 billion in the US alone.