SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sanford Health is participating in a global study to help protect babies when they’re most vulnerable.

Samantha Hartog is a first time mom. Hartog and her nearly two-month-old daughter, Charlee, are part of the Matisse study at Sanford Health.

“She goes to daycare and I just wanted to protect her and I’m also a teacher, so I think about all the germs that I’m around every single day and bringing them possibly home to her,” Samantha Hartog said.

“There’s a virus called RSV, stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and that is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infection worldwide,” Dr. Santiago Lopez said.

The Matisse study hopes to understand if a maternal vaccine for RSV is safe and effective.

“The objective of the clinical trial is to immunize the mom that is pregnant with their child, and the mom will develop an immune response to the vaccine. While developing the response, the mom’s going to have antibodies that will be transmitted through the placenta to the baby,” Dr. Lopez said.

Hartog says the process was easy. She got a shot during her third trimester and kept an online diary.

“After she was born they ended up taking some of her core blood to take some samples,” Hartog said.

She also continues to keep a diary to note any respiratory issues.

Dr. Lopez says the goal of the vaccine is to protect the baby for at least six months.

“When the baby’s at the highest risk of having severe RSV infection, hopefully, he’s protected against RSV infection,” Dr. Lopez said.

If RSV does strike, Dr. Lopez hopes the antibodies will diminish its impact.

“Hopefully it prevents the infection itself, that would be really optimistic, but at least it prevents really severe disease and hospitalization that will be something really impactful,” Dr. Lopez said.

Dr. Lopez hopes to see the vaccine approved in the next few years.

If you’d like to participate in the study, contact your provider, then Sanford will reach out to you and explain the criteria.