The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first prophylactic treatment for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease, a potentially life-threatening illness.

OK'd by FDA officials Jan. 19, the therapy is a hyperimmune gamma-globulin against the respiratory syncytial virus. Maryland-based MedImmune Inc. will market the treatment under the trade name RespiGam.

"While this new drug does not prevent infections by respiratory syncytial virus, it is the first product that reduces serious RSV disease in high-risk children," Commissioner of Food and Drugs David Kessler, M.D., FAAP, said in a prepared statement.

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