The first 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV20) is now available in Spain for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal pneumonia, caused by 20 serotypes of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, in adults over 18 years of age. It’s called APEXXNAR® and it’s from Pfizer, and it promises protect against the largest number of serotypes that are currently responsible for 70% of pneumococcal pneumonia requiring hospitalization in adults in Spain.
Therefore, it includes capsular polysaccharide conjugates for the 13 serotypes already included in ‘PREVENAR 13’ (its previous version), it also contains capsular polysaccharide conjugates for seven additional serotypes that cause invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and have been associated with high case fatality rates, antibiotic resistance and/or meningitis.
PCV20 is expected to induce immunological memory and help provide protection against pneumococcal disease, including nonbacteremic pneumonia, particularly in older adults. “In principle it is only one dose, and only with time will we know if it will be the only one that has to be administered”, said the coordinator of the Pneumoexperts in Prevention Group, Federico Martinon.
In Spain, between 180,000 and 200,000 cases of pneumococcal pneumonia occur each year, half of which are diagnosed in people over 60 years of age, which increases the risk of hospitalization and death. “For these people over 60-65 years of age and for patients with chronic pathologies, protection against pneumococcal infection is essential, not only because of the mortality associated with this pathology, but also in the case of patients with chronic pathologies who are admitted due to pneumococcal pneumonia, their quality of life is affected and diminished”, emphasized Isabel Jimeno, Primary Care Physician and head of the Vaccine Group of the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG).
At the same time, Martinón has stressed that vaccination throughout life has to put more emphasis on the protection of adults, because, as he states, avoiding disease is also improving the quantity and quality of life of the vaccinated. “For this reason, this new vaccine against pneumonia, along with other vaccines recommended for adults, should be part of the healthy lifestyle of adults,” she asserted.
The same opinion has been expressed by Ángel Gil, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Rey Juan Carlos University, who has commented that this vaccine has “great and enormous benefits”.
Pfizer’s Phase 3 adult clinical program for PCV20 included three clinical trials (‘NCT03760146’, ‘NCT03828617’ and ‘NCT03835975’) that evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate to support use for disease prevention invasive and pneumococcal pneumonia in adults 18 years of age and older. In these three trials have participated more than 6000 adults, including adult populations without prior pneumococcal vaccination and adults with prior pneumococcal vaccination.
“Respiratory infectious diseases are the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. For this reason, at Pfizer we decided to bet on this area of innovation with such a high impact on society through the development of vaccines against infectious diseases such as pneumococcal disease and also to combat meningococcal disease, the disease caused by the respiratory syncytial virus or SARS-CoV-2″, explained Cristina Méndez, Medical Director of Pfizer Vaccines for Southern Europe.