Yasmina Kattou, edited by Laura Laplaud
06:56, November 22, 2022
A treatment against bronchiolitis, a highly contagious virus which is massively affecting children this year, is in preparation. A preventive injection is already being tested on the little ones and could reduce the risk of contracting this respiratory infection. With hospitalizations currently at their highest for ten years in France, how does this new therapeutic strategy work?
Nirsevimab. This name may mean nothing to you, but it brings hope to all children suffering from bronchiolitis, an epidemic that is currently raging in France. This is a preventive treatment already tested on 4,000 children which reduces the risk of contracting bronchiolitis. Approved by the European Commission, further trials on more babies are needed to determine if the treatment can be offered to all children. A vast European study, in which France is participating, has been launched, but how does this treatment work?
A single injection
It is a single injection of monoclonal antibodies. Unlike vaccine antibodies, these do not stimulate the immune system. The serum provides immediate protection for about six months, just long enough to prevent the little ones from developing acute bronchiolitis. “These antibodies attach themselves to the virus and prevent it from attaching to the respiratory tract and triggering the disease. But over time, these antibodies disappear. The child is likely to become infected, but as he goes catch it much later in life, he will not have serious forms of the disease”, explains Robert Cohen, pediatrician and infectiologist.
Several French hospitals are taking part in the study
During initial trials on 4,000 children, the treatment prevented infection in 75% of cases. Further testing is needed. Parents who wish to have their babies participate in the trials can go to an authorized center: the University Hospitals of Bordeaux, Nantes, Marseille and several Parisian hospitals are taking part in the study.