The Beyfortus treatment, which aims to immunize babies against the main virus causing bronchiolitis, will ultimately be reserved for maternity wards in its version intended for the smallest infants, the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday September 26.
The ministry “is adapting its strategy in order to protect as a priority the children most at risk of being hospitalized,” he said in a press release, explaining its decision by the strong demand encountered by this treatment since the start of a vast immunization campaign in mid-September.
Beyfortus, developed by the Sanofi group, is a treatment which aims to prevent babies from being infected with the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The latter is the main cause of bronchiolitis. This, which results in breathing difficulties, is generally not serious but can become complicated and lead to hospitalization. Every year it causes an epidemic which, last season, was particularly intense.
In this context, the French government launched an immunization campaign for babies on September 15. However, this has encountered a “very high membership rate”, according to the Ministry of Health. At the National Assembly, the minister, Aurélien Rousseau, hailed an “exceptional success”.
But this strong demand forces the ministry to review the organization of the campaign “for the sake of good management of available stocks”. Until then, all parents could order treatment in pharmacies if their baby had been born since February.
From now on, the 50 mg version of the treatment, intended for babies weighing less than five kilograms, will be reserved for maternity wards. Pharmacies will be able to continue to order the 100 mg version, which is intended for babies of greater weight.
This decision is justified by the fact that “infants under one month old are most at risk of developing a serious form of bronchiolitis,” explains the ministry, without mentioning the case of babies in this age group but already discharged. maternity. According to the latest data, dating from last week, hospitalizations linked to bronchiolitis are starting to increase but remain at a “low” level.