“The European authorization was eagerly awaited and solves a major public health problem because the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is very important for viral pneumonias not only in children but also in adults”. This was stated by Massimo Andreoni, professor of Infectious diseases at the Tor Vergata University of Rome and scientific director of the Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases (Simit), commenting to Adnkronos Salute the authorization in the EU of Arexvy*, the first vaccine to protect adults, from the age of 60 age and older, from this lower respiratory tract infection.
The green light from the European Commission “is the premise – he continues – for the vaccine to soon be recognized by the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) and may also be available in Italy. Technically it could already be available for next season. Times are tight and always unpredictable, but we hope that by the arrival of autumn we too can have it available to us”.
In prevention “we can make a difference – continues Andreoni – RSV is one of the viruses responsible for extremely serious pneumonia not only in children but also in adults. It is a respiratory virus that is easily transmitted by air and is the cause, together with the flu, of half of viral pneumonias”. The seriousness “is due to the scarce pharmacological weapons available for these extremely severe forms that involve hospitalization and even a risk of death – he adds – especially in the most fragile subjects who are not only heart disease, neuropathic and diabetic, but also the immunosuppressed ” .
RSV infection is “a serious disease that we have come to know in children – reflects the expert Simit – but that we are also seeing in the elderly. It is a new thing in this population, but it causes 15,000 deaths in the US alone and, in about 80% of cases, they are over 65 years of age. Age – Andreoni reiterates – is a risk factor. We are realizing it now because we have more accurate diagnostic technologies, the diagnosis of viral pneumonia was undetectable because we did not have adequate diagnostic tests beyond the flu and the coronavirus. Having technologies that allow us the etiological diagnosis we have seen that the syncytial virus has an important impact, among all viral pneumonias”.
This is one more vaccination that can be done, together with the flu and the anti-Covid. “There is the fear of too many vaccinations – reflects Andreoni -. We have to start from another concept. In children we get 5-6 vaccines at the same time. Our body is used to coming into contact with many antigens. We have to worry about preventing diseases that they can be avoided. At the moment – adds the expert – there will be no indication of simultaneous administration, we are proceeding in small steps. For the flu and Covid we already have this indication, for the one against RSV we will have the data very soon. At this moment, having it available – he concludes – is already an important goal, the time is approaching in which we will be able to have a weapon against an infection that is not rare”, even in the elderly.