PATH released a new briefing paper which reports that “rotavirus vaccines have the potential to save more than 2.5 million lives by 2025.” PATH notes that the vaccines are already in use in North America, Latin America, and Europe, and “are urgently needed in Africa and Asia-where the disease burden is greatest.” Every child in the world, regardless of socio-economic status or country of origin, will likely contract rotavirus by age three, and is responsible for more than 500,000 deaths and two million hospitalizations annually. More than 85 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries in Africa and Asia, where access to simple, lifesaving treatments can be severely limited.
Dr. John Wecker, director of Immunization Solutions at PATH, said, “Rotavirus is one of the most deadly diseases children in the developing world face. Vaccination holds the key to making this disease one of the most preventable. We need to stand ready to deliver vaccines to children in Africa and Asia, where most rotavirus deaths occur.” In April, the WHO will review results from a large-scale clinical trial in Africa of the GSK vaccine. Findings from similar trials of Merck’s RotaTeq conducted in Africa and Asia will be available later in fall 2009. These rotavirus vaccine trials provide critical evidence on vaccine performance in real-world settings.
Briefing Paper: “Common Virus and Senseless Killer: A Briefing Paper on Rotavirus,”: http://www.path.org/publications/details.php?i=1685