As winter approaches, the threat of seasonal respiratory viruses, such as influenza, coronavirus and RSV (Respiratory Syncytic Virus), particularly weighs on older adults. Vaccines exist against these three viruses. The one that protects against RSV is available but currently not reimbursed in France. RSV, although often mild in healthy adults, can be serious for frail people. While waiting for a possible reimbursement of the vaccine, the usual preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and wearing a mask, remain the best weapons of protection against these viruses.
With l’winterwinter approaching, the elderly will once again be exposed to virusvirus seasonal respiratory. The two best known are the flu and coronavirus viruses. Vaccines exist against these two pathogens. The most vulnerable people, including the elderly, are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. A third virus, a little less known, causes considerable damage each year among the most vulnerable people. This is RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
What is RSV?
RSV is the virus responsible for bronchiolitisbronchiolitis of the infant. In babies, symptomssymptoms caused by RSV are often very impressive: coughing, wheezing, etc. The most severe forms require hospitalization. Since mid-September 2023, preventive treatment has been available for newborns. This is Nirsévimab or Beyfortus, an antibody monoclonalmonoclonal directed against the virus and which prevents it from entering cells.
This virus can also affect adults. If the infection is mild in healthy adults, it can be very serious in fragile people such as the elderly, immunocompromised people, patients with COPDCOPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or respiratory failure. In the event of hospitalization, its lethality is 5 to 10%.
Is there a vaccine against RSV?
If Beyfortus preventive treatment is reserved for newborns, there are vaccinesvaccines against RSV intended for adults. One of them, the Arexvy, obtained a marketing authorizationmarketing authorization by the EMA (European Medicines Agency) in June 2023. In a study involving 25,000 people, the vaccine demonstrated its effectiveness: 83% for preventing infections, 94% for preventing severe forms. Tolerance was also excellent.
In France, to date, this vaccine can be prescribed, delivered and administered. But it is not (yet) reimbursed by Health Insurance! With a cost above 200 euros, not all patients will be able to afford it. Why this lack of reimbursement? This vaccine is currently being evaluated by the HAS (High Authority of HealthHigh Authority of Health). The results will be available… in October 2024.
Until the vaccine is reimbursed, there are ways to protect yourself against RSV infection. They are the same ones that protect us from the flu virus and the virus. Covid-19Covid-19 :
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water or freezefreeze hydroalcoholic ;
- avoid close contact with sick people;
- wear a mask when social distancing is not possible.