More than 100,000 children under five die each year from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). magazine a year ago the Lancet published a study that found this figure. The formula to avoid this sad fact has come to hand From one of the laboratories committed to providing us shields to overcome Flu every winter. he made us too Invisible shield against other pathogens Such as diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B, polio and meningococcal meningitis. So, a priori, many people feel like it’s past time, and that’s the key. “Success in vaccination means ensuring that we have as few infectious diseases as possible that pose a risk,” he says. thomas triumph,
Global Vaccine CEO sanofi EL Mundo sat down with him to talk about his trip to Spain Viruses and vaccinations, But also how a boy who dreamed of becoming a pediatrician had to become a banker before directing a company that would end the complications of bronchiolitis for millions of children around the world.
Sanofi has developed without any vaccine monoclonal antibody, Combined with AstraZeneca, which is used “To help prevent RSV disease for up to five months”, explains Pedro Gorotxategui, its vice president of the Spanish Association of Primary Care Pediatrics (AEPAP). “It serves to protect minors during the entire period of exposure to the action of the virus.”
Triumph proudly explains this After more than 50 years of study, the rules of the game against this pathogen are about to change, Research and failures against RSV. “Science has been stubborn and it’s taken a hit,” he says. “This year we will be able to provide the first vaccination against RSV to those infants who suffer most from severe episodes of bronchiolitis, because it is behind 80% of cases and Two out of every hundred have to be recruited,
He points out that you have to be patient to see the results of vaccines in public health. “You have to wait about 10 or 20 years to see the impact it has on the community,” Triumph recalls. But in this case it is different: “Here, In the first year we will be able to see a significant reduction in cases, It also had an impact on the reduction in the number of children requiring hospitalization.
Hence, the saying comes true: Health as an investment. ,It is an investment because the cost of income, the direct costs, will be reduced., But also indirectly, families who have to be absent from work to care for minors… There are not many occasions in which we are able to change the rules of the game. So yes, it is extremely exciting for us with this achievement,” says Triumph.
At Sanofi, not only will the vaccination formula be made available to countries with resources, but we “also plan to make it available to countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.” especially 97% of RSV cases in the world occur in countries with limited resources. And that nearly three out of every four deaths occur outside hospital, giving an idea of the drama unfolding in these countries.
As a pediatrician, Gorotxategi measures the impact of antibodies: “With simple measures, masks and hand hygiene at critical moments of Covid, we did not see RSV. Now, It would be more positive if we add prevention to the use of vaccination again.,
In the first year we will see a significant reduction in cases, as well as a reduction in the number of children requiring hospitalisation.
Also from the Spanish Association of Vaccinology (AEV), its president Jaume Jesús Pérez values this progress: “We are facing very important news. Although it is not a vaccine itself, because Does not cause defense in the bodyBut makes them available for a limited time“A very positive achievement in the world of prevention.”
Perhaps, after evaluation by pediatricians and vaccine experts, the dimension of the impact of this important scientific advance can be better understood. ,In the case of vaccines, we will always have a dream to achieve through the efforts of science.“, says Triomphe, when asked about the possibility of designing a universal flu vaccine and not needing to get a new vaccine every year: “We have developed several projects on this at Sanofi… This sacred “It would be like finding the Grail.”
Every year the French company markets more than 200 million doses against this seasonal virus in hundreds of countries around the world. “Flu is not a trivial matter, especially in older and vulnerable people,” he stressed. Heart related problems increase 10 times. This is not just a respiratory disease. “The results are significant and little is known about the risk of pneumonia, heart attack or stroke.”
The reality, says Triumph, is that “We have made significant improvements to existing vaccines against flu viruses, both because of its coverage and the strains it protects against.” However, he acknowledges that the influenza pathogen is much more complex than SARS-CoV-2: “The genomic map is very complex. “If we think about the Omicron sublineages, they are very close to the original strain (Wuhan), but that is not the case with flu, there are many more lineages.”
We all know that refrigerators across Europe are filled with vaccines from the two laboratories that came up with the first
And here we have to admit that one of the traditional vaccines – Pasteur’s eponymous laboratory – could not develop a vaccine in time against the virus responsible for Covid. “We all know that refrigerators all over Europe are full of vaccines that came from the two laboratories that came first,” he admits. “But that doesn’t mean we’re left behind, because we have a reinforcement option and we hope that can be an option.”
Triumph emphasizes that Development of vaccine or immunization formula is a long distance race, “It takes a lot of planning, preparation and strategizing to arrive in the best possible way.” He says this, and that is why this example is not coincidental, of someone who travels long distances in the countryside and even dares to do a marathon. ,The important thing is the level of protection we achieve with vaccines, both for the elderly, our grandparents and the little ones. “So you have to look at the clinical data and realize that not all vaccines are the same.”
Tackling health problems caused by seasonal viruses is one of Sanofi’s primary objectives. That’s why They keep working on new formulas, like the intranasal one. Benefits? “This prevents entry of the virus from the airways, where infection occurs.” Does it work against flu? “No. We had a project a long time ago, but we didn’t get impressive results. They weren’t convinced.” On the other hand, they have made progress “in the high burden flu campaign for children.”
And yes, they continue to work on its development an rsv vaccine for children From one to five years of age. “It will be administered internally. We have completed phase 2 and we are very optimistic about moving on to the next phase and seeing the results. But it may still take three to four years, it will not be available before that time We aim to provide the best protection against RSV at any age, even those over 65.
As a vaccine company, Sanofi not only faces the constant challenge of invent the best recipe For making infallible armor against viruses, but by erasing them from the map it is thought that they no longer exist. “Therefore it is important to maintain high vaccination coverage.” “Spain is an example in pediatrics and has been an example in COVID-19 as well.”, he comments. “It is important for us to work with transparency and develop constructive debate across the ecosystem of medical and scientific societies that can overcome the noise generated by anti-vaccine movements and get the right message across to the general population.”
Maintaining high vaccination coverage is important. Spain is an example in pediatrics and has also been an example in COVID-19
It also highlights The role that the Spanish subsidiary plays in the company, “We invest about 50 million euros per year. Most of our scientific programs involve clinical research developed in Spain. Here, in Barcelona, in the building we are in (where 800 people work) we have There is an international innovation center (Global Innovation Center) looking at every digital opportunity that arises.”
With an eye to the future, Triumph takes stock of everything Sanofi has developed so far. On a personal note, it’s worth noting that the little boy who grew up on a farm in the center of France has finally fulfilled a part of his dream. ,InMy family were all farmers or veterinarians., but I wanted to travel the world and become a pediatrician. My mother told me that I had to go abroad to study, not to become a pediatrician, because I would come back and live in the same place forever. And she was right: she went to Paris to train as an engineer.”I worked for Capital One and the work managing teams and traveling was very enriching.”, And, suddenly one day someone from the world of vaccines came in their way. That was about 20 years ago. And yes, she fulfilled her dream of traveling and caring for the health of others, especially children.