“We have an arsenal to prevent and prevent epidemics”

Be careful not to confuse vaccination and preventive treatment. Sanofi will launch a treatment based on Nirsevimab, a monoclonal antibody designed for infants called Beyfortus. This is not a vaccine. Sanofi and AstraZeneca received favorable reviews in September…

Be careful not to confuse vaccination and preventive treatment. Sanofi will launch a treatment based on Nirsevimab, a monoclonal antibody designed for infants called Beyfortus. This is not a vaccine. Sanofi and AstraZeneca received a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in September.

How is it different from a vaccine?

This treatment differs from vaccines using traditional technologies because it is a monoclonal antibody, that is, an antibody developed in the laboratory, which allows to give the baby so-called passive immunity with a single dose. The vaccine allows the body to produce antibodies through an attenuated virus, synthetic protein or mRNA that will produce the protein. However, the Sanofi drug will provide the body with antibodies directly. This means that the effectiveness of the treatment will be time-limited depending on the lifetime of the antibody. The latter will stick to a single spot on the protein rather than several. So if a variant virus comes along, the antibody won’t recognize it and won’t be able to adapt. So the protection will not work. The more massively such treatment is carried out, the greater the risk of seeing options.

So this treatment announced by Sanofi would be false good news?

Not at all, this is good news as long as only at-risk children are treated. Clinical trials have confirmed the interest of this treatment in these at-risk children, with up to 60% of infections and up to 60% of hospitalizations being prevented. For this, a single injection is enough to last for six months, which is a great improvement, especially since the injection can be repeated for each new season, thus providing protection again for six months. There was this kind of treatment, but it had to be renewed every month. So, progress.

Mathieu Molimard, pharmacologist at the University Hospital of Bordeaux.

Thierry David / “South West”

The epidemic is declining

According to Santé Publique France, the bronchiolitis outbreak entered the post-epidemic phase this week. In the New Aquitaine region, we are witnessing a clear decrease in the circulation of the virus. Pediatric emergency room activity is still moderate, SOS Médecins reports a decrease in bronchiolitis consultations, and there are few RSVs identified by the virology laboratories of the region’s university hospitals.

“Even if this preventive solution is timely, it is a step forward”

Which children are “at risk” who might benefit from this treatment?

Small children already in their first two years. For example, children with comorbid diseases, heart or lung damage. Marketing authorization has been granted, but we are still waiting for an opinion from the Transparency Commission (Editor’s note, High Authority for Health) to know how much this treatment will be paid for. In any case, even if this preventive solution is punctual, it is a step forward.

Are there other strategies to avoid these recurring outbreaks that send thousands of children to the hospital?

Indeed, there are others, notably a vaccine given to the expectant mother in the last trimester of pregnancy developed by the American group Pfizer, and vaccines for babies over six months are also being approved. In connection with the Pfizer vaccine, an injection is included that allows the future mother to produce antibodies that will be transmitted to the baby, which will protect her from the risk of bronchiolitis by up to 70% during the first six months. That’s a lot when you know that most hospitalized babies are newborns. You should know that you can’t vaccinate a baby too early, his immune system is immature. We all hope that this maternal vaccine will be ready at the beginning of the school year.

Are other vaccines being developed?

Yes, yes, it is moving forward. In particular, vaccines for children over six months of age, vaccines with live attenuated viruses are being developed, and some laboratories are beginning to develop mRNA vaccines. We are starting to see an expanding arsenal of treatments, vaccines and solutions emerging, which is very promising and will allow us to prevent epidemics, hopefully no longer fatal, but we must never forget prevention with preventive measures to protect. babies during an epidemic: wash hands, mask when you have a cold, air the rooms, don’t kiss your baby when you’re sick, don’t expose it in public…

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