Thursday, May 16, 2013

India develops cheap rotavirus vaccine

T.V. Padma in An Indian vaccine against rotavirus — the leading cause of diarrhoea-related deaths in most developing countries — promises cheap home-grown protection while adding to the global basket of rotavirus vaccines, an international team announced.

Severe diarrhoea caused by rotavirus claims the lives of 453,000 under-five children worldwide each year. India tops the list, contributing to 22 per cent of the deaths or an estimated 100,000-163,000 each year. Half of India’s rotavirus-related diarrhoeal deaths are of less-than-a-year old infants.

The two internationally licensed oral rotavirus vaccines, GlaxoSmith Kline (GSK)’s Rotatrix and Merck’s Rotatec, are priced at US$ 40 per dose, but provided at US$ 2 per dose in poor countries under an arrangement with the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI).

This week (14 May), scientists announced in New Delhi the results of third phase of clinical trials — involving 6,799 infants in three Indian states — of Rotavac, an oral vaccine based on a strain circulating in India and developed under an Indo-US partnership.

Rotavac reduced severe rotavirus-related diarrhoea cases by 56 per cent in infants under-one year, with protection continuing into the second year, K Vijayargahavan, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, told an international symposium....

Computer reconstruction of a rotavirus particle, by Dr Graham Beards, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

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