Major research that found a jab can protect babies from a lethal winter virus has been praised by a mother whose child fell seriously unwell.

Mum-of-two Lorna Smith has spoken out after University Hospital Southampton revealed a successful results from a global study into preventative treatment against Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

Lorna’s eldest son Caolan contracted the virus in January 2022 aged only eight months.

The youngster was admitted to Southampton General Hospital twice after struggling to breathe.

Daily Echo: Lorna with Caolan in hospital in January 2022Lorna with Caolan in hospital in January 2022 (Image: Lorna Smith)

Now aged two and a half, Caolan still suffers long-term effects of the virus.

But Lorna is pleased UHS led the study, which shows the jab could slash hospitalisations by more than 80 per cent. It has been approved for use in the UK.

The 36-year-old from Shirley said: “This jab is great, and I think it will be amazing for parents and for the NHS.

“I didn’t realise how serious RSV was. It can be really quite dangerous when children are young.”

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Lorna described the terrifying moment Caolan went downhill.

"The night after taking him to the GP I was keeping an eye on him because he hadn’t woken up for a feed like normal," she said.

Lorna added: “Caolan had a really high temperature, and it was really hard to wake him up, which was unusual.

“I started to panic a bit and rang 111 and was told that because of his symptoms, an ambulance would be sent out to us.

“It was surreal, I wasn’t expecting that reaction.

“We were taken to the hospital in the early hours of the morning, and it was deemed necessary to keep Caolan in hospital as his oxygen levels were dropping.

“The staff at UHS were so good and took the early decision to keep Caolan in overnight, which was the right decision as he got worse.”

Daily Echo: L-R: Caolan, Lorna holding Rian, and Russell Smith L-R: Caolan, Lorna holding Rian, and Russell Smith (Image: Lorna Smith)

Caolan improved the following day but relapsed later and was readmitted to the hospital.

Lorna and her husband Russell only discovered he had RSV following a Covid swab.

She said: “This was the first time I had ever heard of it.

“Ever since Caolan contracted RSV, I have been working to raise awareness of it.

“A lot of parents don’t know what it is – I didn’t know at the time.”

RSV causes between 20 and 30 infant deaths per year in the UK.

But results from the study co-led by experts at UHS, University of Southampton, St George’s University Hospital, and in primary care, suggest the antibody jab could help ease winter pressures.

Co-leader of the study, Professor Saul Faust from the University of Southampton, said: “These latest results show that this long-acting antibody is safe and could protect thousands of babies from hospitalisation when used in conditions similar to routine clinical practice.

“It is really important information for the UK to help decide on options for the future national RSV immunisation programme.”