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Friday, January 06, 2006

Rotavirus vaccines cut infant deaths

Two new experimental vaccines have been shown to be effective to prevent severe childhood diarrhea caused by rotaviruses, US studies showed on Wednesday.

According to new studies in the New England Journal of Medicine, the vaccines, Rotateq and Rotarix, by drug-makers Merck and GlaxoSmithKline showed "an impressive efficacy profile".

"After a long period of waiting, the time for a rotavirus vaccine may have finally arrived," said Roger Glass and Umesh Parashar of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States.

As well as many deaths, rotavirus causes about two million hospital visits for diarrhoea and vomiting each year. In the US alone, the virus hits 2.7 million children under 5 years of age each year, 70,000 of which end up hospitalised.

Rotateq, a Merck product, is a live pentavalent human-bovine reassortant rotavirus vaccine that demonstrated 98% efficacy against severe disease.

Rotarix, a GlaxoSmithKline product, is an attenuated G1P(8) vaccine that was 85% effective against severe disease.

Neither vaccine has been licensed in the United States, although Rotarix was approved last summer in Mexico.
Image and News source


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