New anti-diarrhea vaccine could save millions

WHO approves a vaccine that could dramatically cut the death rate of children in developing nations

Rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea and vomiting in young children, is responsible for more than 500,000 deaths and two million hospitalizations each year. Of those deaths, 85 per cent occur in developing countries in Africa and Asia. But the World Health Organization has just recommended that a new anti-diarrhea vaccine be given to all children. “This represents another important step in our ability to achieve significant impact on under-five deaths in the world’s poorest communities and make progress towards the Millennium Development Goals,” Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt, of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations, explained. But scientists for the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation warn that the vaccine may still be too costly to implement on a global scale: “the cost-effectiveness analysis showed that, based on current vaccine prices, universal vaccination of young children significantly exceeded the commonly accepted threshold for cost-effective healthcare interventions.”


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