Rotarix in developing countries: paving the way for inclusion in national childhood immunization programs in Africa.J Infect Dis. 2010 Sep 01; 202 Suppl:S80-6.JI
Rotavirus gastroenteritis causes more than half a million deaths annually among children aged <5 years, the great majority of which occur in Africa and Asia. Vaccination is considered to be the most effective public health strategy to prevent rotavirus disease and to reduce the significant global burden of rotavirus gastroenteritis. Rotarix (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals) is an oral, live attenuated rotavirus vaccine derived from a human G1P rotavirus strain. Results of phase III studies in Europe, Latin America, and Asia have shown that Rotarix offers sustained high protection against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis during the first 2 years of life, when disease burden is highest, with broad protection demonstrated against each of the 5 main rotavirus types that circulate globally (G1, G2, G3, G4, and G9). Coupled with the availability of local burden of disease data and promising interim efficacy data from an ongoing study in Malawi and South Africa, this further reinforces the case for introduction of this rotavirus vaccine in national childhood immunization programs in Africa, where rotavirus-related mortality is significant.