Ann Falsey, M.D. Recognized for Leadership in RSV Research
Falsey is a professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, and co-director of the Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit, a National Institute of Allergy Infectious Diseases-supported research center that has played a central role in the scientific response to the COVID pandemic. Her research focuses on numerous viral respiratory pathogens including RSV, influenza, coronaviruses, parainfluenza viruses, and human metapneumovirus. She has conducted numerous adult surveillance and vaccine studies in a variety of settings including ambulatory older adult clinics, nursing homes, and senior daycare centers.
Falsey was selected to deliver with the John F. Enders Distinguished Lecture in Medical Virology. The lecture, titled “Beyond Bronchiolitis: Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Adults,” was an overview of decades of research and the growing global burden of this disease, particularly in older adults. RSV is a leading cause of bronchitis and pneumonia and one of the most common infections in the world. The lecture is named in honor of Ender, who received the 1954 Nobel Laureate in Medicine for discoveries that ultimately led to the development of vaccines against polio, measles, rubella, and mumps.
In a separate presentation, Falsey discussed the results of a phase 2 clinical trial in adults 65 and older for an RSV vaccine being developed by Janssen. Falsey served as principal investigator for the Rochester site of the study. The trial showed that the vaccine generated a robust immune response and was 80% effective in preventing lower respiratory tract infection and 70% effective in preventing all acute respiratory infections. The experimental vaccine was well tolerated by study participants. Janssen has already started a phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine. There is currently no approved vaccine for RSV, however, multiple companies – including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna – have vaccine candidates in various stages of development.
IDWeek is a joint annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the HIV Medicine Association, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, and the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists. The meeting serves as a forum for peer-reviewed presentations of new research on scientific advances and bench-to-bedside approaches in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and epidemiology of infectious diseases.