Infant rotavirus vaccine shows promise

Australian health officials recently announced that a new infant rotavirus vaccine has been successful in preventing rotavirus and non-rotavirus acute gastroenteritis hospitalizations in vaccinated children and older individuals who are unvaccinated.

The results of the study were recently published in the online edition of  Pediatrics, reports.

Emma J. Field, of Queensland Health in Brisbane, Australia, and fellow researchers compared hospitalization rates for rotavirus and non-rotavirus AGE before and after implementation of a universal RV5 vaccine program in Queensland.

Researchers found that RV5 coverage was 89.6 percent for one dose and 73.1 percent for three doses. According to the researchers, the effectiveness of three doses for preventing non-rotavirus AGE hospitalization ranged from 62.3 to 63.9 percent, reports.

For preventing rotavirus hospitalizations, effectiveness ranged from 89.3 to 93.9 percent. In individuals younger than 20 years of age,  reports, researchers noted immediate and sustained reductions in rotavirus hospitalizations after initiation.

The researchers concluded that RV5 is highly effective at preventing rotavirus hospitalizations in a developed country setting. The researchers also concluded that direct and indirect effects of the vaccine were substantial and included reductions in non-rotavirus AGE hospitalizations in vaccinated age groups and rotavirus and non-rotavirus AGE hospitalization rates in older age groups.

Rotavirus is a virus that infects the bowels. It is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and children throughout the world and causes the death of about 600,000 children worldwide annually. The name rotavirus comes from the characteristic wheel-like appearance of the virus when viewed by an electron microscope.