It’s the world’s first vaccine for RSV and the Food and Drug Administration gave the nod Wednesday. It’s called Arexvy and the shot is designed to prevent Respiratory Syncitial Virus. The approval is limited right now but the  vaccine is meant to have broad benefits.

More than 14,000 people die every year after an RSV infection. Up until now doctors had no way to prevent or treat.

Bill Muller M.D., PhD is an infectious disease specialist at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

“It can be very frustrating,” he said. “We see these big surges in the winter time.”

For decades scientists have been conducting research. After lab tests and clinical trials Arexvy is here. So far, the vaccine is approved for those 60 and older, a high-risk group largely impacted by RSV.

“In the older age group, RSV is also a threat and I think it’s a little under recognized,” Muller said. “So even though the percent of adults that are infected with RSV, and the percent that go to the hospital for it, are low, the overall numbers are actually higher than they are in children.”

For people with underlying conditions the vaccine showed an efficacy of 94.6 percent. Overall the efficacy was 82.6 percent.

“We also think of conditions which compromise your immune system,” Muller said. “So things like cancer. But i would caution that this vaccine wasn’t studied in that population. You would hope it would be helpful but we don’t know that yet.”

With more than 177,000 infections each year in the U.S., the 2023-2024 RSV season should be radically different.

“It’s the first step toward what we hope to be more approvals for RSV interventions,” Muller said.

People in studies only experienced mild side effects like pain at the injection site. Children are also at risk but so far they are not included in the FDA vaccine approval. There is currently an antibody treatment in the works for kids.