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May 1988

Ribavirin: Ambivalence About an Antiviral Agent

Author Affiliations

Departments of Pathology and Pediatrics Arizona Health Science Center 1501 N. Campbell Ave Tucson, AZ 85724

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(5):488-489. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150050026022

All of us who care for the young have experienced anxiety and frustration in dealing with hospitalized infants afflicted by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The anxiety is particularly great when there is underlying cardiovascular or pulmonary compromise or immunodeficiency, or when the infant is younger than 2 months of age. Frustration occurs because we all wish we could provide something other than supportive care to promptly alleviate the suffering of an infant who is struggling for air and becoming progressively exhausted in the process.

Over a year ago, ribavirin was released for specific use in such infections. It was heralded as a major advance in definitive treatment of RSV disease, especially among infants who were known in advance to be at risk of death, and perhaps for those who did not possess such risk factors but were nonetheless severely ill.1-3 Ribavirin therapy has not been represented as a great

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