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“Immunocompromised patients are in code red”

Yellow is the trendy color of the moment. Barometer in code orange, the Belgians watch with hope and desire a transition to code yellow looming: no more need for Covid Safe Ticket under these conditions. We’re not there yet, but we’re definitely getting there.

On the other hand, a non-negligible segment of the population, namely immunocompromised people, is not relaxed. And more than thirty scientific personalities from the medical world are worried about their fate: “For them, the barometer turns red“, writes the immunologist, professor emeritus of the ULB, Michel Goldman. At his side, the signatories believe that he is “urgent to put the Paxlovid (Editor’s note: anti-Covid drug from the Pfizer firm) at their disposal. The Free is publishing this carte blanche this morning in its “Opinions” section.

Immunocompromised patients (more than 100,000 people in Belgium) include, among others, patients with congenital immunodeficiency, patients with kidney, heart, liver, lung or stem cell transplants, and patients treated for certain cancers, in particular blood, or certain autoimmune diseases. They must more than all the others protect themselves from the risks of contamination, a fortiori when they have to go to the hospital. What will happen to them when the “free” yellow colors the barometer?

The only drug available to them at the time of writing is sotrovimab (Xevudy), a monoclonal antibody whose action on the Omicron variant is not optimal.“, write the authors.”Undoubtedly, the solution of choice is Paxlovid, an antiviral drug administered orally at the onset of symptoms of the disease. While it has been approved by the European Medicines Agency and is already available in France, Paxlovid is still unavailable in Belgium. When it is, nothing says that the available doses will be sufficient Indeed, Belgium has only ordered 10,000 doses, against 1 million in Germany and the Netherlands, 500,000 in France, and 20,000 in Luxembourg whose population is nearly 20 times less than that of our country. This situation is incomprehensible both for the patients and their families and the doctors who are in charge of it.e.”

Furthermore, these patients also do not have access toEvusheldwhich is a combination of monoclonal antibodies available in France since January, but not in Belgium.

Immunocompromised patients remain the forgotten of the pandemic when they should be the subject of the greatest attention today“, conclude the signatories.

This carte blanche was signed by:

Michel Goldman President of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Health, ULB Alain Le Moine Head of the Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation Department, Erasmus Hospital, ULB Yves Beguin Head of the Hematology Department, President of the Cancer Institute, University Hospital of Liège, Uliège Ahmad Awada Head of the Oncology Department, Institut Bordet, ULB Catherine Bonvoisin Nephrology and Transplantation, University Hospital of Liège, ULiège Dominique Bron Emeritus Professor of Hematology, ULB Member of the National Bioethics Advisory Committee Georges Casimir Director of Research at Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital, ULB Permanent Secretary of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium Didier Cataldo Department of Pneumology-Allergology, CHU Liège, ULiège President of the Belgian Respiratory Society Stefan Constantinescu Full Professor at UCLouvain President of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium Elie Cogan Emeritus Professor of Internal Medicine and former Dean of the faculty of medicine, ULB Jean-Marc Desmet President of the French-speaking nephrologists of Belgium Nephrologist at the CHU-Vésale de Charleroi Christine Devalck Head of the hematology-oncology clinic at the Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital, ULB Virginie De Wilde Director of the hematology, Erasmus Hospital, ULB Arnaud Devresse Nephrology, Saint-Luc University Clinics, UCLouvain Alina Ferster Pediatric hemato-oncology and transplantation. Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital, ULB Jean-Christophe Goffard Director of Internal Medicine, Erasmus Hospital, ULB Eric Goffin Head of Clinic, Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation, Saint-Luc University Clinics, UCLouvain Filomeen Haerynck Pediatric Immunology, UZ Gent, UGent Michel Jadoul Head of Nephrology Department, Saint-Luc University Clinics, UCLouvain François Jouret Head of Nephrology Department, Liège University Hospital, ULiège Nada Kanaan Nephrology, Saint-Luc University Clinics, UCLouvain Tessa Kerre Head of Clinic, Hematology, UZGent, Ugent Christiane Knoop Head of the Lung Transplant Clinic, Erasmus Hospital, ULB Bart Lambrecht Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, UGent President of the Belgian Society of Immunology Jean-Pascal Machiels Head of the Medical Oncology Department and President of the Cancer Institute and of Hematology King Albert II, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, UCLouvain. Isabelle Meyts Primary Immunodeficiency Unit, UZ Leuven, KULeuven Nathalie Meuleman Head of the Hematology Department, Institut Bordet, ULB Michel Mourad Head of the Renal and Pancreatic Transplantation Unit, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, UCLouvain Michel Moutschen Head of the infectious diseases-internal medicine, CHU de Liège, ULiège Yves Pirson Emeritus Professor, UCLouvain Xavier Poiré Head of the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Unit, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, UCLouvain Sophie Servais Clinical Hematology, CHU de Liège, ULiège Etienne Sokal Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, UCLouvain Xavier Stéphenne Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, UCLouvain Laurent Weekers Nephrology-transplantation, CHU de Liège, ULiège Karl Martin Wissing Head of the Department of nephrology from the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, VUB President of and the Belgian Transplantation Society.

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