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Vaccine against bronchiolitis: a Phase III study advances in Argentina


“The syncytial virus is the leading cause of viral pneumonia in older adults if COVID is not taken into account” (Getty)

The COVID-19 pandemic and the global health emergency that it unleashed focused on the search for safe and effective treatments and vaccines to prevent the new virus. And simultaneously, almost as an unwanted effect, has postponed important vaccine research, such as the search for a vaccine against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which causes bronchiolitis in newborn babies and bilateral pneumonia that can be severe in older adults.

Now, when the situation allows science to take its eyes off the urgent a bit, research that had been postponed at this time is put back on the laboratory counter.

And without a doubt, one of the great debts of medicine is to find a vaccine capable of preventing RSV infection, the respiratory disease that causes the hospitalizations of more newborn babies in the world and the one that caused the most viral pneumonias throughout history , with high mortality rates in older adults.

Three studies are conducted worldwide for an RSV vaccine in healthy adults 18 to 85 years of age and one in healthy pregnant women 18 to 49 years of age.

More than 2,000 healthy adults from 18 to 85 years of age have already been inoculated with this vaccine with the formulation of the Pfizer laboratory, which is in Phase III “With a very encouraging safety profile”, According to Infobae, the doctor specializing in internal medicine and pulmonologist Alexis Doreski (MN 141,740), principal investigator in the trial that takes place in Fundación Respirar.

Its about Renoir studio, global, randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled, which the laboratory presented in September in New York and in which expects to enroll approximately 30,000 participants aged 60 and over.

Vaccine against bronchiolitis: a Phase III study advances in Argentina
Bronchiolitis is the leading cause of hospitalization in children under two years of age (Getty)

The work has two other research centers in Argentina: one is developed in the Central Military Hospital and is in charge of the pediatrician Gonzalo Pérez Marc, while the third is directed by the researcher Conrado Llapur, at the Mayo Clinic in the province of Tucumán.

“It is a vaccine that has been showing a very good safety profile, even in pregnant women in the third trimester to whom it would be applied with the intention of achieving vertical immunization of newborns, that is, that babies are born protected against bronchiolitis “detailed Doreski, who stressed that the study of this vaccine is “one of many important things that were suspended due to the urgency of the pandemic.” “It is an unsatisfied public health need that is being taken up again,” he insisted.

Vaccine against bronchiolitis: a Phase III study advances in Argentina
The syncytial virus causes severe bilateral pneumonia that may require hospitalization and respiratory assistance in older adults with risk factors (Efe)

Asked about who is most seriously affected by this disease, Doreski stressed that “It affects the two extremes of life, newborns and young children and older adults.” “At the two extremes of life is when there is the greatest sensitivity in the respiratory tract, and the syncytial virus causes severe bilateral pneumonia that may require hospitalization and respiratory assistance in older adults with risk factors,” explained the pulmonologist, who delved : “Since the 1950s, the respiratory syncytial virus has been isolated, and from that moment on science found no solution for it. Natural immunity lasts for a very short time, which is why a large number of pharmaceutical companies have been seeking solutions for this public health problem with antivirals or vaccines for years.”.

And after ensuring that “The syncytial virus is the first cause of pneumonia of viral origin in older adults if COVID is not taken into account”, Doreski emphasized that “especially patients with respiratory diseases such as COPD or asthma or with cardiological diseases such as heart failure are very susceptible and have a high risk of developing severe pneumonia due to this virus.”

“Many times children bring the virus from the garden and infect their grandparents, which is why it is so important to have specific vaccines and antiviral treatments for these two populations”, I consider.

About how RSV infects and the vaccine mechanism

Vaccine against bronchiolitis: a Phase III study advances in Argentina
Prefusion F subunit vaccines, such as the one from the Pfizer laboratory being studied in the country, “use this conformation prior to binding with the human cell and show a high safety profile so far” (Getty)

The RSV virus has two predominant proteins on its surface. “If we take these proteins as ‘tags’ as well as the spike protein covers SARS-CoV-2 on its surface, these surface proteins of RSV are called G and F,” explained Doreski. G protein looks for the filaments (cilia) in the airway to adhere to. And once adhered to our airway, the F or fusion protein binds to one of our cells and begins its replication or copying of the virus ”.

“This protein F of the virus changes its conformation from a prefusion protein to a post-fusion one, with some structural changes due to having joined a human cell “, continued the pulmonologist, who specified:” This protein functions as an antigen (something that makes our immune system and generate antibodies) and the G protein can also function as an antigen or primer for our immune system ”.

Prefusion F subunit vaccines, such as the one from the Pfizer laboratory being studied in the country, “use this conformation prior to binding with the human cell and show a high safety profile so far.”

People interested in participating in the study can find out and register on the vsr.com.ar page

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Bronchiolitis, another virus for which there is no vaccine and for which experts advise being prepared
How to Prevent Bronchiolitis in the Context of a COVID-19 Pandemic
Bronchiolitis: how to avoid the first cause of hospitalization in children under two years of age

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