A preventive treatment for bronchiolitis intended for newborns, Beyfortus (Sanofi / AstraZeneca), will be available “from mid-September” in health establishments and, on order, in pharmacies, indicated the Ministry of Health. in a document sent to healthcare professionals.
This monoclonal antibody (nirsevimab) is one of the options against respiratory syncytial virus, the main cause of bronchiolitis, in infants during their first season of exposure to RSV.
“Immunized before leaving maternity”
“Available from mid-September in health establishments and on order in community pharmacies, nirsevimab can be prescribed to all infants born from February 6, 2023 in mainland Europe”, is it specified in the document (DGS Urgent) of the ministry. For Overseas, “specificities (…) are under investigation”.
The single injection, in the muscle, can be done in some cases at birth. For infants born on or after September 15, it is recommended that they be “immune before leaving the maternity ward”said the ministry to caregivers.
The antibody can also be administered in town, in general practice, pediatrics, health centers, etc.
In this case, it will be necessary “a prescription by the doctor who follows the child”according to the document. “The parents will then go to the community pharmacy to order and then collect the medicine which will be made available by the State, without invoicing the families”.
In Europe, it is estimated that bronchiolitis affects almost 30% of infants under the age of two each winter, i.e. approximately 480,000 cases per year. And 2-3% of infants under the age of one are hospitalized with severe bronchiolitis.
The bronchiolitis epidemic in Europe last winter reached an unprecedented level for more than ten years: it required more than 26,000 hospitalizations after a visit to the emergency room in children under two years old, according to numbers from emergency services.
Alongside an information campaign on bronchiolitis aimed at parents, the deployment of a preventive treatment against bronchiolitis will constitute “one of the major challenges of the new school year”said the Minister of Health Aurélien Rousseau in early August, the day after the green light from the High Health Authority for reimbursement.
Beyfortus brings “a partial response to the medical need” because there is no data yet to“substantiate a possible impact” on the duration of hospitalization, the transfer to intensive care or intensive care, mortality, according to the High Authority of Health.