The new generation of antibodies approved by Europe is effective “with a single dose administered at the beginning of the season” and thus prevents syncytial virus infection throughout the respiratory season
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To this day respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has no specific treatment so prevention is essential. Although this virus is not as well known as covid or the flu, it also requires that preventive measures be adopted by both the general population and families with newborn or infant children. Measures such as washing hands before touching a baby, not coughing or sneezing on them or not taking them to places with crowds, are recommendations that should be known by everyone, to avoid infection with this virus.
“There are several factors why RSV is not so well known. The main one, from my point of view, is that we do not do diagnostic tests and therefore We can only tell parents that their child has bronchiolitis, but we cannot tell them that they have bronchiolitis due to respiratory syncytial virusthen they are left with the concept of bronchiolitis and not so much with the cause”, highlighted Rosa Rodrguez, head of Pediatric Hospitalization at the Gregorio Maran University Hospital, in a meeting organized by CudatePlus in collaboration with Sanofi.
so far theonly safe RSV prevention treatment (in addition to the aforementioned measures) was directed only to risk groups. “The classic treatment is a monoclonal antibody that has been used for many years in risk groups, premature infants, patients with congenital heart disease and lung disease of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia“, explained Rodrguez, who pointed out that every year these risk groups are given five intramuscular doses once a month during the seasonality of the virus to protect against RSV infection. This is a safe and effective strategy.
“We now find ourselves in a scenario where there is a new generation of monoclonal antibodies, that the difference they have with those we have been using is that they have a longer half-life and that with a single dose administered at the beginning of the season we could prevent RSV infection throughout the respiratory season. But the main advantage and difference with the other monoclonals is that they are not directed only at risk groups, but to the entire population of infants and newborns facing their first season of RSV“. Currently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given the green light to the monoclonal antibody that will revolutionize the next RSV season.
Together with Rodrguez, Federico Martinn, head of Pediatrics at the Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago; Jose Antonio Navarro, pediatrician and vaccine consultant; and Mariano Pastor, president of the Spanish Federation of Associations for Allergic Patients and Respiratory Diseases, have analyzed the RSV situation and have pointed out that the arrival of the new one could be a real revolution in the approach to RSV and suppose a paradigm shift, as for the first time they could be administered to the entire population susceptible to this disease and not only in risk groups.
“In my opinion, the drug could have a very significant impact. In fact, if it behaves in the real world as clinical trials show, eight children would have to be given the drug to avoid a doctor’s visit and would have to be given to 48 children to avoid one hospitalization“, stated Federico Martinn, head of Pediatrics at the Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago.
All the participants in the debate insisted on the importance of knowing that it is not just any virus, but a very serious one. “Families are not aware that it is a disease that can be fatal,” stressed Mariano Pastor, president of the Spanish Federation of Associations of Allergic Patients and Respiratory Diseases, an association to which patients with this disease can go, their relatives and caregivers, because as Pastor explained, the problem with RSV is that it is an unknown disease that has made it difficult to create an association of its own.
The infection by RSVis the most frequent cause of hospitalization of young children and three out of four cases They appear in babies who do not have any risk factor or identified underlying disease. “In the hospital we see cases of healthy children who led a normal life and who, as a consequence of this infection, end up hospitalized or even in a pediatric intensive care unit,” stated Martinn.
“Classically, the premature baby was the main group at high risk of being hospitalized for this virus, but We now know that 95% of cases do not occur in premature babies“, said José Antonio Navarro.
RSV bronchiolitis, “the covid of children”
RSV is one of the respiratory diseases that, together with the flu and covid, can cause more serious infections, especially in babies during the first two years of life and in older people. In Spain, this virus is the cause of between 7,000 and 14,000 hospitalizations in infants each year.. In addition, between 2 and 3% of children who are infected for the first time with RSV in the first 12 months of life require hospitalization, and 2-6% of them are admitted to intensive care. In infants younger than six months premature, infants with chronic lung problems, congenital heart disease, immunocompromised, or exposed to tobacco smoke, the risk of developing severe illness as a result of RSV infection is even greater.
This respiratory virus, which belongs to the family of Paramyxovirus (such as measles and mumps), can cause upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Thus being the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia, especially in infants. Regarding the incidence of this virus, the impact of the disease on children under two years of age, or the paradigm shift that the disease could have in the coming months, .