Home » Yes from the EMA to the first vaccine against bronchiolitis – Nutrition

Yes from the EMA to the first vaccine against bronchiolitis – Nutrition

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Yes from the EMA to the first vaccine against bronchiolitis – Nutrition

The first vaccine capable of protecting newborns and the elderly from bronchiolitis, a respiratory infection which is one of the most frequent causes of hospitalization in the first months of life and in old age, could soon arrive in Italy. The European Medicines Agency has in fact recommended the marketing authorization of a vaccine against the respiratory syncytial virus, which affects around 33 million children worldwide every year, causing the hospitalization of 3.2 million and the death of 111,800. The green light is obtained by Pfizer’s Abrysvo vaccine, the first anti-RSV to protect infants up to 6 months and the over 60s, stimulating a lasting antibody response. Abrysvo instructs the body to produce specific antibodies against the F protein of the virus, the one that allows it to fuse with our cells to infect them. To protect newborns, it is given to the mother in the third trimester of pregnancy – as is the case with the pertussis and flu vaccine – and gives protection for six months. Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is highly prevalent from November to April and usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. However, when it affects vulnerable people, it causes inflammation of the bronchioles, or the terminal parts of the airways. These symptoms most often affect the elderly and people with heart or lung disease. The first victims, however, are the children. In Italy there are no certain estimates because the pathology has no notification obligation and only those who arrive at the hospital and take a swab have a precise diagnosis. “According to estimates, the RSV takes 2 out of 10 children affected by it to hospital in the first year of life. Almost all hospitalized children need oxygen and 5% of those hospitalized end up in intensive care”, Andrea Lo Vecchio, president of the Italian Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (Sitip), explains to ANSA. Even in the sixties of the last century, the disease that caused respiratory failure, pneumonia and many deaths in newborns was called the ‘dark evil’. “Among children under 2 who get bronchiolitis – continues Lo Vecchio, professor of pediatrics at the Federico II University of Naples – about 10% need oxygen and are hospitalized. Of these, 5% are intubated. Unfortunately, there is no specific therapy and this generally causes great pressure in the pediatric wards and neonatal intensive care units between December and January”. Last winter, the syncytial virus epidemic was particularly aggressive: “it caused many cases of severe respiratory failure in newborns and also affected children between two and four years of age, due to the so-called Immunity Gap, or the immune deficiency linked to less exposure to pathogens due to protective measures against Covid”, continues Lo Vecchio, a member of the Infectious Diseases Table of the Italian Society of Pediatrics. For about a decade, in Italy, the monoclonal palivizumab has been authorized for premature babies and for children with some specific diseases, a prophylaxis that can be administered in different doses and which, unlike the vaccine, does not stimulate the production of its own antibodies. A few months ago, the EMA also authorized a second monoclonal, which with a single administration covers for 5 months and is indicated for all newborns, both healthy and at risk: “a choice dictated by the fact that the syncytial virus often leads to hospitalization even babies born at full term and without other pathologies”, explains Lo Vecchio.

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