Describing global pediatric RSV disease at intensive care units in GAVI-eligible countries using molecular point-of-care diagnostics: the RSV GOLD-III study protocol

Yvette N Löwensteyn, Natalie I Mazur, Harish Nair, Joukje E Willemsen, Ghislaine van Thiel, Louis Bont, RSV GOLD III—ICU Network study group


Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is an important cause of hospitalization and death in young children. The majority of deaths (99%) occur in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). Vaccines against RSV infection are underway. To obtain access to RSV interventions, LMICs depend on support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. To identify future vaccine target populations, information on children with severe RSV infection is required. However, there is a lack of individual patient-level clinical data on instances of life-threatening RSV infection in LMICs. The RSV GOLD III-ICU Network study aims to describe clinical, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of children with life-threatening RSV infection in Gavi-eligible countries.

Methods: The RSV GOLD-III-ICU Network study is an international, prospective, observational multicenter study and will be conducted in 10 Gavi-eligible countries at pediatric intensive care units and high-dependency units (PICUs/HDUs) during local viral respiratory seasons for 2 years. Children younger than 2 years of age with respiratory symptoms fulfilling the World Health Organization (WHO) “extended severe acute respiratory infection (SARI)” case definition will be tested for RSV using a molecular point-of-care (POC) diagnostic device. Patient characteristics will be collected through a questionnaire. Mortality rates of children admitted to the PICU and/or HDU will be calculated.

Discussion: This multicenter descriptive study will provide a better understanding of the characteristics and mortality rates of children younger than 2 years with RSV infection admitted to the PICU/HDU in LMICs. These results will contribute to knowledge on global disease burden and awareness of RSV and will directly guide decision makers in their efforts to implement future RSV prevention strategies.

Trial registration number: NL9519, May 27, 2021.

Keywords: Awareness; Burden; Children; Lower-middle-income countries; Pediatric intensive care unit; Respiratory syncytial virus; Study design.

Full article here.