Estimating the cost-effectiveness of maternal vaccination and monoclonal antibodies for respiratory syncytial virus in Kenya and South Africa

Koltai M, Moyes J, Nyawanda B, Nyiro J, Munywoki PK, Tempia S, Li X, Antillon M, Bilcke J, Flasche S, Beutels P, Nokes DJ, Cohen C, Jit M
BMC Med. 2023;21

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BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes a substantial burden of acute lower respiratory infection in children under 5 years, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Maternal vaccine (MV) and next-generation monoclonal antibody (mAb) candidates have been shown to reduce RSV disease in infants in phase 3 clinical trials. The cost-effectiveness of these biologics has been estimated using disease burden data from global meta-analyses, but these are sensitive to the detailed age breakdown of paediatric RSV disease, for which there have previously been limited data. METHODS: We use original hospital-based incidence data from South Africa (ZAF) and Kenya (KEN) collected between 2010 and 2018 of RSV-associated acute respiratory infection (ARI), influenza-like illness (ILI), and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) as well as deaths with monthly age-stratification, supplemented with data on healthcare-seeking behaviour and costs to the healthcare system and households. We estimated the incremental cost per DALY averted (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio or ICER) of public health interventions by MV or mAb for a plausible range of prices (5-50 USD for MV, 10-125 USD for mAb), using an adjusted version of a previously published health economic model of RSV immunisation. RESULTS: Our data show higher disease incidence for infants younger than 6 months of age in the case of Kenya and South Africa than suggested by earlier projections from community incidence-based meta-analyses of LMIC data. Since MV and mAb provide protection for these youngest age groups, this leads to a substantially larger reduction of disease burden and, therefore, more favourable cost-effectiveness of both interventions in both countries. Using the latest efficacy data and inferred coverage levels based on antenatal care (ANC-3) coverage (KEN: 61.7%, ZAF: 75.2%), our median estimate of the reduction in RSV-associated deaths in children under 5 years in Kenya is 10.5% (95% CI: 7.9, 13.3) for MV and 13.5% (10.7, 16.4) for mAb, while in South Africa, it is 27.4% (21.6, 32.3) and 37.9% (32.3, 43.0), respectively. Starting from a dose price of 5 USD, in Kenya, net cost (for the healthcare system) per (undiscounted) DALY averted for MV is 179 (126, 267) USD, rising to 1512 (1166, 2070) USD at 30 USD per dose; for mAb, it is 684 (543, 895) USD at 20 USD per dose and 1496 (1203, 1934) USD at 40 USD per dose. In South Africa, a MV at 5 USD per dose would be net cost-saving for the healthcare system and net cost per DALY averted is still below the ZAF's GDP per capita at 40 USD dose price (median: 2350, 95% CI: 1720, 3346). For mAb in ZAF, net cost per DALY averted is 247 (46, 510) USD at 20 USD per dose, rising to 2028 (1565, 2638) USD at 50 USD per dose and to 6481 (5364, 7959) USD at 125 USD per dose. CONCLUSIONS: Incorporation of new data indicating the disease burden is highly concentrated in the first 6 months of life in two African settings suggests that interventions against RSV disease may be more cost-effective than previously estimated.