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Africa: Innovative Rotavirus Vaccine Could Prevent Thousands Of Child Deaths

An innovative new vaccine which could prevent large numbers of children from dying of diarrhoea in sub-Saharan Africa has been successfully trialled in Niger.

Known as BRV-PV – the vaccine has been shown to be both safe and effective against rotavirus.

“This is a game-changer,” says MSF Medical Director Dr Micaela Serafini. “We believe that the new vaccine can bring protection against rotavirus to the children who need it most.” MSF International reports

The new vaccine does not require refrigeration, hence making it much easier to reach communities in remote areas who have limited access to health services and are most in need of the vaccine.

In tests in Niger, researchers found it was more than 60% effective.

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The BRV-PV vaccine is currently under review by the World Health Organization (WHO) for prequalification.

Once approved, low-income countries will be able to procure the vaccine at an affordable price and roll it out in their countries.

“The success of this trial shows that research and development into vaccines that are specifically adapted for use in low-income countries yields results,” says Dr Serafini. “The quicker this vaccine is prequalified by the WHO, the sooner it can be used to prevent the deaths of thousands of children in the countries where it is needed most.” MSF International reports

Rotavirus infection is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea and kills an estimated 1,300 children each day, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.

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