Background: The high disease burden of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and renewed focus on developing a vaccine has led to sustained interest in published RSV-related research. The majority of this research comes from Europe and North/Central America and this landscape review aimed to identify and characterize RSV-related research published during 2011-2015 in these geographical areas.
Methods: We conducted a literature review on electronic databases Scopus and Web of Science to identify published studies investigating RSV throughout Europe and North/Central America. We stratified RSV-related publications between 2011-2015 by study type, country, research institution and funding body.
Results: The annual published output of RSV-related research has increased by 29% over the period 2011-2015. Eighty seven percent (13/15) of the most highly cited papers on RSV during this period were from North America. US universities with the highest number of RSV-related publications included Emory (n = 23), Vanderbilt (n = 23), University of Michigan (n = 21) and Ohio State (n = 20). The UK (n = 125), Netherlands (n = 97) and Spain (n = 76) were major European contributors to RSV-related publications. University Medical Centre Utrecht (n = 40) and Imperial College London (n = 28) were the European universities with the largest number of RSV-related publications. The National Institutes of Health provided funding for one quarter of all RSV-related publications. However, few countries in Eastern Europe, Central America and the Caribbean published RSV-related research. Few epidemiological studies focused on adult populations over 18 years old (n = 28, 7%) with only five publications specifically investigating elderly populations over 65.
Conclusions: This review identifies key regions and research institutions which contributed to RSV-related research during 2011-2015 as well as the donor agencies which supported this research. Further research investment is required in a number of countries. More research in the elderly and in high-risk adults is required given the lack of studies pertaining to these populations. Researchers and those commissioning research can use the data from this review to identify productive research institutions and geographical gaps in RSV research.