New vaccine against rotavirus could curb child deaths

There are already two vaccines on the market against rotavirus, but they require refrigeration and can be costly.”This trial brings a vaccine which is adapted to African settings to those who need it most,” said Sheila Isanaka,assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard University and co-author of the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“When the vaccine becomes widely available in Africa, it will help protect millions of the most vulnerable children.”The vaccine, called BRV-PV, is manufactured by Serum Institute of India.The randomized, controlled trial involved 3,508 healthy infants who received three doses of the vaccine or placebo at 6, 10, and 14 weeks of age.

About a month after the final dose, far fewer children who had been vaccinated showed signs of diarrhea, vomiting and stomach distress from rotavirus.”At 28 days after the third dose of vaccine or placebo, severe rotavirus gastroenteritis had been reported in 31 infants in the vaccine group and in 87 in the placebo group,” said the study.

The new vaccine’s efficacy of 67 percent was higher than the RotaTeq vaccine, which was 39.3 percent effective according to a previous trial.A similar trial in South Africa and Malawi found the efficacy of the Rotarix vaccine was 61.2 percent, according to background information in the article.

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