Rotavirus is one of the most common causes of severe dehydrating gastroenteritis. The mortality rate due to rotavirus is very high and contributes a significant chunk to the infant mortality in the developing country like India. A vaccine, which could prevent the disease itself, will provide enormous benefit to the society.
Human-bovine rotavirus vaccine
In a recent study published in Lancet, Nita Bhandari et al. published the findings of the phase 3 study of monovalent human-bovine (116E) rotavirus vaccine. The study was conducted at three sites in Delhi, Pune and Vellore. A total of 4532 infants aged between 6-7 weeks were included in the study. The infants were divided into vaccine or placebo group randomly in 2:1 ratio. The vaccine was found to be highly effective when compared to placebo in preventing severe gastroenteritis due to rotavirus and was statistically significant. The more pragmatic and clinically useful indicator is the number of infants to be immunized to prevent one episode of severe rotavirus gastroenteritis. The number of infants needed to immunize also showed a positive outcome, 55 with a 95% confidence interval of 37-97. The occurrence of adverse events was similar in both placebo and the vaccine group. These findings suggest the effectiveness of the present rotavirus vaccine in Indian population.
6-10-14 weeks schedule
The study followed a schedule of 6/7-10-14 weeks, 3 doses schedule for the administration of vaccines orally. The positive results and the ease of oral administration along with the synergy of 6-10-14 weeks schedule makes it a perfect candidate for incorporation into national immunization schedule. Considering the fact that the rotavirus gastroenteritis is one of the deadly infections in infants, the positive results of vaccines on rotavirus and their incorporation into routine immunization schedule will definitely help many infants pass through their dangerous period.