Lallemand Pharma

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The importance of immunization

Feb 13, 2019

Flu season is in full swing as european cases of different flu strains increase, with the potential to infect millions.

Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory passages. In the northern hemisphere it typically occurs as an epidemic during the winter months with a peak in february.

The illness can be debilitating and represents significant enough socio-economic burden and indirect costs, such as the loss of working days or school absenteeism for children for example. Patients’ quality of life is affected, with direct impact on their family and social life.

Although complications remain rare, every year, tens of thousands are hospitalised and thousands of patients are admitted to intensive care across the EU/EEA [1, 2]. ECDC estimates that on average nearly 40 000 people die prematurely each year from influenza in EU/EEA countries [3].

So what can we do to prevent seasonal influenza and other RTIs?


Prevention of RTIs represents a key public and private health objective. However influenza is an unpredictable disease and whilst seasonal influenza epidemics occur each year, any prediction about the severity of upcoming influenza seasons is often conjecture, at best.

With influenza like with all RTIs, everybody should follow a few simple rules to help boost the body’s natural defences. If we cannot do anything about our age or genetics, the external risk factors can be acted upon. A lifestyle based on regular exercise and a balanced diet is recommended to remain healthy.

If these methods can be sufficient for most adults, it can be insufficient for various at-risk populations: healthy subjects prone to recurrent infections, seniors, children in a community environment (school, nursery), subjects working in high risk environment (caretaker, health professionals, teachers, community workers…), people with chronic conditions such as COPD or asthma etc. For most of these patient groups, immunisation is recommended as a safe preventive method.

Vaccination remains the most effective public health intervention to mitigate and prevent seasonal influenza [4].


Bacterial lysates were introduced in the 1970s, and were mainly used as immunostimulant drugs against infections. They are mixtures of inactivated, killed bacteria; in pharma applications the bacteria are pathogenic, and the principle is to trigger the immune defences thanks to their antigenic properties. Bacterial lysates allow the development of specific mucosal immunity to prevent and help fighting infections [5] .

Numerous clinical studies and post-market data have been analysed, evaluating the efficacy of sublingual immunostimulants in the prophylaxis of respiratory tract diseases, demonstrating some clinical benefits to prevent respiratory tract infections (otitis, rhino-sinusitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, epiglottitis, bronchitis, pneumonia…)

Because they have a broad spectrum of action and a dual effect on systemic and mucosal immunity, but also on specific and non specific immunity, bacterial lysates in sublingual tablet dosage form represent an interesting immunostimulating approach.


  1. Muller D, Szucs TD. Influenza vaccination coverage rates in 5 European countries: a population-based cross-sectional analysis of the seasons 02/03, 03/04 and 04/05. Infection. 2007;35(5):308-19.
  2. Fragaszy EB, Warren-Gash C, Wang L, Copas A, Dukes O, Edmunds WJ, et al. Cohort Profile: The Flu Watch Study. Int J Epidemiol. 2017;46(2):e18
  3. Nicoll A, Ciancio BC, Lopez Chavarrias V, Molbak K, Pebody R, Pedzinski B, et al. Influenza-related deaths– available methods for estimating numbers and detecting patterns for seasonal and pandemic influenza in Europe. Euro Surveill. 2012;17(18)
  4. Nicoll A, Sprenger M. Low effectiveness undermines promotion of seasonal influenza vaccine. Lancet Infect Dis. 2013;13(1):7-9
  5. De Villemeur M., Dr Sanchez C. The Fascinating World of Bacteria: Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Applications, INTERNATIONAL BIOPHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY. 2018 Winter vol.1 issue 3; 24-27