Hospitals are having to deal with too few doses. THE lack of Beyfortus – a new preventive treatment against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes bronchiolitis – pushes certain maternity wards to sort eligible babies, reported this Wednesday France Inter. “Each maternity ward has been forced to manage the doses which arrive in droplets,” conceded to the radio Christèle Gras-Le Guen, professor of pediatrics and responsible for deployment. of this treatment on a national scale.
“In Nantes, in my hospital and in other maternity wards, we prioritized certain babies to administer Beyfortus,” she assures. “This amounts to sorting, even if we don’t really like this term sorting, or rather to overprioritizing,” confirms Brigitte Virey, president of the National Union of French Pediatricians (SNPF).
Beyfortus is a monoclonal antibody allowing the baby’s body to protect itself if it faces RSV. It is injected before possible infection and is therefore called preventative. However, it is not a vaccine. According to Christèle Gras-Le Guen, priority is now given to “toddlers, with birth weights which are lower than the norm, therefore babies weighing less than 2.5 kg, toddlers with siblings, susceptible to to be infected, or even babies from families who live in a context of precariousness.”
“The idea is to identify babies who absolutely must be protected as a priority: those who are premature, those who have associated pathologies, those who have brothers and sisters because RSV can circulate among siblings, etc. », Supports Brigitte Virey.
For others, “mask” and “barrier gestures”
For infants who do not meet these criteria, Christèle Gras-Le Guen advises parents to “keep babies away from germs, not to take them out too much, or to wear a mask when someone is sick in those around them” while reminding them to apply “barrier gestures”.
The infant immunization campaign with Beyfortus started in mid-September in France. The government had ordered 200,000 doses shortly before the summer, a stock which is therefore not enough. This is the first year that the Beyfortus is available in France. “Public Health France specialists had estimated it at less than 30%, but, in maternity wards, the adherence rate is more than 60%,” indicated in September in Parisian Philippe Besset, president of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France (FSPF).
Last year, the bronchiolitis epidemic was the strongest in ten years, which can explain the strong enthusiasm for Beyfortus. It had been earlier and more virulent than in previous years. According to Public health France, 73,262 children under the age of two went to the emergency room due to bronchiolitis between October 3, 2022 and January 22, 2023 (i.e. the 2022-2023 surveillance period). 26,104 of them were hospitalized. On average from 2015 to 2020 and over the same period, 38,087 children under the age of two went to the emergency room for bronchiolitis each year, of which 13,958 were hospitalized.