Serum palivizumab level is associated with decreased severity of respiratory syncytial virus disease in high-risk infants

Michael L. Forbes, Veena R. Kumar*, Ram Yogev, Xionghua Wu, Gabriel J. Robbie, Christopher S. Ambrose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Monthly doses of palivizumab, an RSV-specific monoclonal antibody, reduce RSV-related hospitalizations (RSVH) in high-risk children; however, no specific palivizumab level has been correlated with disease severity in humans. A post hoc analysis of a previous randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the relationship between serum palivizumab level at the time of RSVH and disease severity. Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission was the primary severity marker. Relationships were evaluated between disease severity and gestational age, age at enrollment, age at RSVH, presence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, sex, race, multiple birth, household smoking, daycare attendance, sibling(s), family history of atopy, duration between most recent palivizumab dose and RSVH, and palivizumab level at RSVH. Forty-two (87.5%) of 48 palivizumab recipients with RSVH had palivizumab levels drawn; 11 were admitted to the PICU. Mean palivizumab levels were lower in PICU-admitted subjects (47.2 μg/mL) vs. non-PICU subjects (98.7 μg/mL; P < 0.0001); there were no statistically significant differences in other variables examined. The probability of PICU admission declined with higher palivizumab levels; there were no PICU admissions with levels ≥ 92 μg/mL. In multivariate analyses, palivizumab level was the only independent predictor of PICU admission (P = 0.009). Palivizumab level also correlated with duration of RSVH and PICU stay, supplemental oxygen use and duration, and mechanical ventilation use and duration (P < 0.05). Higher palivizumab level was associated with decreased disease severity in high-risk infants with RSVH. Findings suggest that palivizumab level has clinical relevance, and adherence to timely monthly dosing may confer additional protection among high-risk children receiving palivizumab.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2789-2794
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • IMpact-RSV study
  • Palivizumab
  • Pediatric intensive care unit
  • RSV-related hospitalization
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Serum palivizumab level
  • Severe RSV disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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