Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Rotavirus Vaccines Significantly Reduce Child Deaths

Rotavirus, the most common form of child diarrhea, may have a cure. A recent study out of medical journal The Lancet cites two sets of clinical trials in Asia and Africa confirming that a new rotavirus vaccine can significantly reduce child deaths. The Asian trial took place in Bangladesh and Vietnam where 2,000 infants were tested. The study showed that the vaccine had a 48.3% success rate and when combined with other efforts, such as oral rehydration salts, zinc, exclusive breastfeeding and improved hygiene and sanitation, diarrheal deaths could be reduced even more. The African trial took place in Ghana, Kenya and Mali and had a 64% success rate if the vaccine was administered in the first year of life. While these percentages may not appear to be overwhelmingly high, it should be noted that the vaccines will still have a huge impact on reducing the disease in Africa and Asia because so many more children are dealing with the disease there than in the United States or in Europe where medicine and healthcare can be much more easily administered.

- Clara Hill