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A research published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that a new vaccine against rotavirus is effective. After performing the clinical trials, researchers discovered that the low-cost, orally-administered vaccine worked against the diarrheal disease spread among children. Thus, it might prevent between 600 and 1,300 child deaths per year.
The virus can resist to harsh temperatures
Doctors Without Borders led a randomized and placebo-controlled clinical trial. They performed this trial on more than 3,500 infants from the Maradi region in Niger. Results showed that three doses of the BRV-PV oral vaccine were effective against 66.7 percent of the cases of severe rotavirus gastroenteritis.
Dr. Micaela Serafini, the medical director of Doctors Without Borders, regards their study as extremely important and a “game changer”. Their vaccine can resist to extreme heat and it can bring several-month protection in harsh desert conditions. Thus, it can be of help to those children who need it most.
Researchers explain that the BRV-PV vaccine can remain stable for a year at temperatures of 98 degrees Fahrenheit, and for six months at 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This happens without the need of refrigerating the vaccine first. Besides, it is very cheap. The production costs are of only $2.50, and is effective particularly against the sub-Saharan strain of rotavirus.
Reducing rotavirus mortality rates
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that diarrhea is the second cause of death among children. This is the case in the entire world, but infants from poorer countries struggle with this more often, because of the lack of proper sanitation and clean water. Actually, more than four-fifth of all deaths caused by rotavirus take place in such countries.
Fortunately, a vaccine can reduce the mortality rate by 50 percent. BRV-PV is not the first rotavirus vaccine, but it is the first to be designed specifically for the sub-Saharan strain and the first to pass the clinical trials. Researchers discovered that the treatment posed no safety risk. Also, it can resist high temperatures without refrigeration, which solves the problem of lack of refrigeration places.
Researchers are excited about their revolutionary discovery. Now, children in poor areas can be treated more easily. Thus, the vaccine against rotavirus helps those who need it most, and it combats the second most widespread cause of death among children. The study can be found here.
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