Respiratory viral infections represent the leading cause of hospitalization in infants and young children worldwide and the second leading cause of infant mortality. Among these, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) represents the main cause of lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in young children worldwide. RSV manifestation can range widely from mild upper respiratory infections to severe respiratory infections, mainly bronchiolitis and pneumonia, leading to hospitalization, serious complications (such as respiratory failure), and relevant sequalae in childhood and adulthood (wheezing, asthma, and hyperreactive airways). There are no specific clinical signs or symptoms that can distinguish RSV infection from other respiratory pathogens. New multiplex platforms offer the possibility to simultaneously identify different pathogens, including RSV, with an accuracy similar to that of single polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the majority of cases. At present, the treatment of RSV infection relies on supportive therapy, mainly consisting of oxygen and hydration. Palivizumab is the only prophylactic method available for RSV infection. Advances in technology and scientific knowledge have led to the creation of different kinds of vaccines and drugs to treat RSV infection. Despite the good level of these studies, there are currently few registered strategies to prevent or treat RSV due to difficulties related to the unpredictable nature of the disease and to the specific target population.
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