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From Covid to another deadly virus: the new vaccine race that 2 laboratories are running

2023-01-19T09:36:31.938Z


Moderna announced positive results from its respiratory syncytial vaccine. Pfizer is also moving along the same lines.


It's the new vaccine race.

The explosion of the Covid pandemic forced scientists and pharmaceutical companies around the world to go out in search of an urgent solution, and

the vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 was arrived at in record time

.

In that first race, three years later, you can see that there were clearly two winners.

And now, the competition seems to be repeated with another virus that did not monopolize the covers of the newspapers in the same way, but that is a silent killer:

the respiratory syncytial virus

.

Respiratory syncytial virus (also known as RSV, for its acronym) is commonly associated with

bronchiolitis

and that is correct, because it is the main cause of this infection that often causes pediatric hospitalizations to collapse every winter.

Every year, more than

100,000 children under the age of five die worldwide

 from infections caused by syncytial. 

But it doesn't just affect babies.

Also, and it is very risky, to the elderly.

In those over 60,

it can cause more damage than the influenza virus

, with severe respiratory conditions in addition to worsening respiratory, diabetic and cardiovascular pathologies: a person with a severe disease already installed has 200 times more chances of having a heart attack than next week.

For this reason,

getting a vaccine against RSV is key

to reducing mortality and decompressing healthcare systems that are increasingly overloaded by the impact of chronic diseases.

RSV is one of the

great targets

of research in immunology today.

Another is, precisely, the flu.

The medium-term objective is to achieve

the long-awaited

panvaccine

: the one that combines immunization against the flu, respiratory syncytial and Covid viruses in the same injection.

Resource optimization and

one shot

protection combo .

We said that in the race for vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 there were clearly two laboratories that were winners:

the Americans Pfizer and Moderna

.

They are the ones who bet on the messenger RNA platform, which ended up giving the best chances of readjusting the formula to

adapt it to the variants

.

Both laboratories have already approved and distributed in several countries the

bivalent vaccine

that includes the Omicron strain, but it still does not have an arrival date in Argentina.

And now, it is Pfizer and Moderna that are also in the competition to

bite the bullet with the RSV vaccine

.

The novelty this week was a statement released by Moderna, in which it anticipated

preliminary results of its messenger RNA vaccine against RSV

.

In it, he noted that a data and safety oversight board verified a

vaccine efficacy of 83.7%

against RSV-associated lower respiratory tract disease defined by two or more symptoms (RSV-LRTD).

Pfizer and Moderna's Covid vaccines use the messenger RNA platform.

AFP photo

Moderna anticipated that it "will submit the data to a peer-reviewed publication and present it at an upcoming scientific meeting."

And in the statement he remarked that based on these results, he plans to "submit the

request for regulatory approval

in the first half of 2023."

Clarín

asked the company if this request for authorization from the regulatory agencies includes the Argentine ANMAT in addition to the American FDA and the European EMA, but received no response.

The

interim analysis

was based on 64 RSV-LRTD cases with two or more symptoms, of which 55 occurred in the placebo group and 9 in the vaccine group, and 20 RSV-LRTD cases with three or more symptoms, of of which 17 cases were observed in the placebo group compared to three cases observed in the vaccinated group.

“The study is still ongoing, and additional efficacy analyzes are anticipated as cases accumulate,

including for severe RSV

,” the company clarified.

Pfizer had already advanced preliminary results of its optimistic study in adults in August.

Also in a statement prior to submission to a journal for peer validation, the US biopharmaceutical company reported

overall efficacy of 66.7% and 85.7% against severe forms

in adults over 60 years of age.

And in November the results in babies were disseminated (pregnant women were vaccinated to awaken the immunity of future newborns).

Efficacy against severe disease in neonates up to 90 days

was nearly 82%

.

In those up to six months old, almost 70%.

This point, that of efficacy in severe cases, is very relevant.

In fact, it is

what managed to twist the arm of the Covid pandemic

.

Although today people are infected with the virus, hospitalizations and mortality have dropped sharply thanks to the vaccines.

Respiratory syncytial virus is the main cause of bronchiolitis.

Photo File

A vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus has been investigated for more than 50 years, but none had been able to exceed 38% efficacy.

Therefore,

these results are very encouraging

.

"

This is going to change the history of the epidemiology of this disease.

They are two different platforms, but it is being seen with both that they are of spectacular development and that they are changing vaccinology," Gonzalo Pérez Marc, head of trials, told this newspaper. clinics at the Central Military Hospital.

In this center – where the Pfizer vaccine against Covid was tested – Pérez Marc is one of the researchers leading both the Pfizer and Moderna trials against RSV.

It is that Argentina

provided volunteers to carry out both clinical investigations

.

The

main difference

between one and the other has to do with the platform they use.

Moderna uses messenger RNA as said, just like for its Covid vaccine.

Pfizer, on the other hand, developed a recombinant protein-based vaccine for respiratory syncytial.

It uses a

pre-fusion protein

, one of those that the virus uses to attach itself to the cell.

"With messenger RNA we have already seen its

very high efficacy

to combat respiratory viruses with SARS-CoV-2. And the recombinant protein shows that the paradigm of which protein to reproduce to improve the immune response changed some time ago. The pre-proteins Unlike the vaccines that were made before post-fusion,

they are more stable

and generate a powerful antibody response to stop the disease," explained the specialist.

Beyond RSV, considering a vaccine that includes it together with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, is Moderna better positioned in the race to be developing vaccines against the three viruses on

the same messenger RNA platform

?

According to Pérez Marc, not necessarily.

"No vaccine is still being investigated with the three together.

Each one must be investigated separately and in combinations

. If the platform is the same, great because they will not interfere, but you still have to see what dose you give of each one to that generates the same amount of defense and there are no major adverse effects," he clarifies.

"And if you don't have the same platform, you have to prove that they don't interfere and that they don't lower the quality of each other. The lines of research are more or less the same and both Pfizer and Moderna are going to have to do the same number of studies and they are going to have the same difficulty to get to the triple vaccine", says Pérez Marc, who at the same time is optimistic:

"In a few years we are going to be talking about that this exists"

.

ACE

Source: clarin

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