Santiago de Compostela, Mar 15 (EFE).- Galician babies will be the first in the world to be immunized for free against the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) starting in autumn, when the Xunta will include it in its vaccination calendar in which it will also expand the rotavirus vaccine to all children under 2 years of age.
The president of the Xunta, Alfonso Rueda, has indicated this Wednesday that immunization against the syncytial virus will avoid reducing by 80% both medical assistance related to this virus, which causes bronchiolitis and pneumonia in the smallest, as well as hospitalizations.
With a cost of 5.1 million euros, Galicia will thus be positioned as “the leader in child vaccination not only at a national and European level, but worldwide”, he highlighted.
Currently, RSV in children, which causes between 70 and 250 deaths annually, the virus is treated with a antibody monoclonal that is administered at birth and protects for 4-5 months.
This antibody, nirsevimab, received a green light from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) a few months ago. for the prevention of lower respiratory tract infection caused by RSV in newborns and infants, and that Galicia will thus be the first to finance it.
A “historical milestone”, as he has celebrated Federico Martinón, head of the Pediatrics service of the Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago on his Twitter account, in which he explained that this “passive vaccine” based on monoclonal antibodies “already contains the pre-formed defenses that the child needs and that block the virus, unlike conventional vaccines in which the child develops these defenses in response to vaccination.
Under normal conditions, Martinón explains, this virus hospitalizes one in every 50 infants it infects in their first year of life, and, in addition, 56% of the little ones end up being admitted to intensive care, needing respiratory support.
Once the infection has passed, many of these children are left with the lung “touched”, with a picture of “persistent bronchial hyperreactivity” and that conditions any other new infection of any type for months or even years.
This researcher is co-author of the international phase 3 trial in adults that a month ago demonstrated in people over 60 years of age that a single dose of the vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company GSK against the respiratory virus sincitial (RSV) is safe and prevents acute respiratory infection caused by the virus.
The vaccine candidate for the elderly – whose scientific name is RSVPreF3 OA – was tested with 24,966 participants who received a dose of the vaccine (12,467 adults) or placebo (12,499) and is still awaiting EMA approval, scheduled for the end of the year.
Apart from the syncytial, the Galician vaccination calendar will also extend the rotavirus vaccine to all children under 2 years of age and not only premature babies, as the president of the Xunta has added.