Vaccine Against Rotavirus Gastroenteritis
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17 March 2011
Pharmaceutical research firm MSD has launched RotaTeq, a pentavalent rotavirus vaccine to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis. The gastroenteritis is a major cause of severe and life–threatening diarrhoea in infants and young children.
RotaTeq, an oral, three–dose vaccine given to infants aged 6–32 weeks, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, US, and Indian regula tory authorities, said a press release.
New Jersey–headquartered MSD is a tradename of Merck & Co. Inc.
"India suffers from a high disease burden of rotavirus–associated diarrhoea, which also leads to high child mortality. RotaTeq will help in addressing the issue, MSD managing director (India) KG Ananthakrishnan told the media.
Rotavirus is the single most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in children worldwide, infecting almost every child by five years, said consultant pae diatrician Dr Pramod Jog.
Globally, ro tavirus causes approximately 114 million cases of disease, 24 million outpatient visits and 2.4 million hospitalisations a year. It is estimated that 610,000 children die each year from rotavirus. In India alone, it is associated with 39.2 per cent of all diarrhoea–related hospital admissions among children aged below five.
Dr. Rohit Agarwal, president elect, Indian Association of Pediatricians, said, "The approval of this vaccine is important for pediatricians because we will now have a way to help protect infants from rotavirus."
RotaTeq is approved for use in 98 countries worldwide.