(Reuters) -The European Commission on Thursday approved U.S. drugmaker Pfizer's vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to protect both babies and older adults in the European Union.
The approval makes the vaccine, which is sold under the brand name Abrysvo, the first to protect infants up to six months of age from the virus when given to pregnant women.
RSV typically causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but is a leading cause of pneumonia in toddlers and the elderly, causing thousands of hospitalizations and deaths each year.
Earlier this week, the U.S. health regulator greenlighted the vaccine for use in women during the middle of the third trimester of pregnancy to protect their babies.
The European Commission in June approved British drugmaker GSK's vaccine Arexvy to protect older adults.
Sanofi and partner AstraZeneca's long-acting therapy against RSV infections was approved last year by the European Commission for use in infants.
Pfizer and GSK's shots are already approved in the United States for protection against RSV in older adults, making them the frontrunners in a market estimated to cross $10 billion by 2030.
In the EU, about 245,000 yearly hospital admissions have been associated with RSV in children younger than five years of age, while the virus is estimated to cause about 20,000 deaths in older adults each year.
(Reporting by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shailesh Kuber)