A ‘life-changing’ vaccine that can cut the likelihood of asthma attacks by up to 70% could be of great help to Britons with severe asthma.
The at-home injector pen includes tezepelumab, a medication that blocks a crucial chemical that triggers attacks, and is more effective than conventional therapies.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is expected to approve the treatment later this year as a consequence of “dramatic” trial findings, according to sources who spoke to The Mail on Sunday.
The move follows recent European Medicines Agency approval for its usage throughout Europe.
A young patient who was previously unable to exercise completed a mountain biking marathon following vaccination.
Another patient, who had recently been hospitalized multiple times for asthma attacks, stated that the medication had “restored my life.”
Approximately eight million Britons have asthma. It occurs when the airways that transport air into and out of the lungs become inflamed and constricted. Most people experience periodic moderate breathing difficulties, which are typically prompted by allergies or exertion.
British severe asthmatics get “life-changing” DIY shot
The majority use inhalers to control their symptoms. Patients have been prescribed two types of medication: one containing corticosteroids to prevent attacks and another to alleviate symptoms during an episode. However, approximately 200,000 asthmatics have a severe version of the condition.
They are typically dependent on heavier medications, such as steroids, which have a multitude of side effects, including weight gain, nasal bleeds, and chest infections, and frequently necessitate hospitalization.
Dr. Ian Pavord, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Oxford and leader of the new drug’s clinical trials, says, “I used to view my job as overseeing an orderly decline.” Steroid pills were our only option, which was depressing.
After a few months, patients began to experience side effects that were frequently worse than the sickness itself. However, we had no alternative; we had to save lives.
In the past decade, however, a new family of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies has provided hope for these individuals.
Injections or infusions of monoclonal antibodies inhibit the immune system’s release of certain proteins that exacerbate lung inflammation.
As they are a more targeted solution, they are associated with fewer side effects and complications; however, the current generation of monoclonal antibodies tends not to work as well in patients who have had asthma since childhood because, in some cases, inflammation is caused by an immune system overreaction that is more difficult to stop.
However, research indicates that tezepelumab is highly effective for all patients.
It functions by inhibiting a substance secreted by the airway lining that activates a cascade of inflammatory proteins. Prof. Pavord compares it to turning off the lights at the mains or turning off the water supply.
Turning off this molecule has a far-reaching impact on the inflammatory response.
“With this medicine, you get more bang for your buck,” he adds.
We can assist a broader range of patients, and the result is more pronounced than that of comparable drugs.
We believe this medicine can induce illness remission in at least one in three individuals, and possibly many more.
Professor Pavord recalls that after taking tezepelumab for a year, several individuals in his clinical trial were “unrecognizable.”
“One was a 28-year-old woman who struggled to breathe at night and had gained five stones in the preceding years as a result of steroid use,” he explains.
‘All of a sudden, she lost the excess weight and was able to breathe normally, even at night.
She was able to chase after her three young children without becoming out of breath, and this was her priority.
‘Another patient was confined to a wheelchair and needed almost daily on an oxygen cylinder to breathe.
Following the trial, he no longer required it. We anticipate the NICE approval in August.
It will be fascinating to observe the impact on patients in the clinic.