European health authorities should soon study the Sanofi molecule intended for babies from 0 to 12 months, before a possible release on the market, “Les Echos” reported this Wednesday. Other laboratories are engaged in researching a vaccine or treatment for the elderly or immunosuppressed.
Preventive treatment against the virus responsible for bronchiolitis could finally see the light. Several laboratories competing, but it is the French Sanofi who seems to be the most advanced. According to information published Wednesday by the echoes, Europe should study quickly, perhaps as early as September, its prophylactic treatment, which is therefore able to prevent an infection. If authorized, it could represent an important medical advance: to date there is no specific molecule to treat the virus it is aimed at.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia. It is a leading cause of hospitalization and mortality in young children. According to a study by Hand. “RSV is a major cause of infections in all children for whom there are still no preventive options”points out Jean-François Toussaint, global manager, research and development at Sanofi.
There is an RSV treatment for premature babies, AstraZeneca’s Synagis, but it is expensive and requires five injections. Not enough to allow for general vaccination. It is in this niche that the French laboratory, an ally of the English AstraZeneca, seeks to position itself. Its researchers have developed a treatment for healthy, premature or full-term babies: Nirsevimab. A single injection of this monoclonal antibody should protect these babies during the first year of life, during the season that the virus circulates. It is therefore not a vaccine in the strict sense: the product will not stimulate the production of antibodies, but will provide them directly. This is most effective in young children with still fragile immune systems.
In a press release published in May, Sanofi announced the success of Phase 3 trials of its treatment, the last step before marketing authorization. The primary analysis of these tests was published in The New England Journal of Medicine : Of the 1490 children tested, Nirsevimab was 74.5% effective.
Other vaccines for the elderly
Sanofi and AstraZeneca are far from the only ones working on RSV prevention. No fewer than 33 vaccines or prophylactic treatments are in development, according to The hand.Among these are the British GSK and the American Pfizer. Both labs announced positive trial results for their respective vaccine candidate in June and August. But they turn to other audiences, also particularly affected by the virus: the elderly and the immunosuppressed.