Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 09 March 2016 launched Rotavirus vaccine Rotavac, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
ROTAVAC® India’s first indigenously developed Rotavirus Vaccine. The vaccine will be sold to global public markets, Governments worldwide including UN procurement agencies at a price of US $ 1. Bharat Biotech hopes its new vaccine will help prevent part of the ~ 500,000 child deaths each year caused due to rotavirus diarrhea and improve access to better, affordable rotavirus vaccines.
The vaccine is currently undergoing Phase III clinical development for safety and efficacy in 8000 subjects, one of the largest such clinical trial ever conducted in India. According to CDC estimates, rotavirus causes approximately 352,000–592,000 deaths each year (median, 440,000 deaths) in children <5 years of age.
. The rotavirus vaccine development project is a public-private partnership project between the Company and the Dept of Biotechnology Govt of India, Gates Foundation, Program for Appropriate Technologies in Health, Centers for Disease Control, USA, National Institutes of Health NIAID USA, Society for Applied Studies, Translational Health Sciences Technology Institute, Indian Institute of Science, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and Stanford University.
The Rotavac is in addition to three new vaccines that have been introduced in India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) including Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Measles, Rubella (MR) vaccine, and Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine.
With these new vaccines, India’s UIP will provide free vaccines against 12 life threatening diseases, to 27 million children annually, the largest birth cohort in the world.
The IPV has been introduced in six States from Nov. 30, 2015 to provide double protection against polio.
What is rotavirus?
Rotavirus disease is most common in infants and young children.
Rotavirus is a virus that infects the bowels, causing a severe gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and bowels). Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants. The name rotavirus comes from the characteristic wheel-like appearance of the virus when viewed by electron microscopy (the name rotavirus is derived from the Latin rota, meaning "wheel").
Rotavirus is a virus that infects the intestinal tract of almost all young children by age 5. Children can get rotavirus more than once, but the first infection is usually the worst. This infection causes stomach upset and diarrhea.
A rotavirus infection usually starts within two days of exposure to the virus. Initial symptoms are a fever and vomiting, followed by three to seven days of watery diarrhea. The infection can cause abdominal pain as well.
Additional symptoms include loss of appetite and dehydration (loss of body fluids), which can be especially harmful for infants and young children.
Symptoms of dehydration include
· decrease in urination
· dry mouth and throat
· feeling dizzy when standing up
A dehydrated child may also cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.
Adults who get rotavirus disease tend to have milder symptoms.
Rotavirus spreads easily among infants and young children. Children can spread the virus both before and after they become sick with diarrhea. They can also pass rotavirus to family members and other people with whom they have close contact.
Rotavirus can be spread by contaminated
· Objects (toys, surfaces)
Children are most likely to get rotavirus in the winter and spring (December through June).
Rotavirus in India
Diarrhoea caused by Rotavirus is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age. In India, between 80,000 to one lakh children die due to Rotavirus diarrhoea annually while nearly 9 lakh children are admitted to hospital with severe diarrhoea. Another 32.7 lakh children visit the hospital as out patients due to the disease.
Source: webmd.com, cdc.gov/rotavirus, medicinenet.com/rotavirus, thehindu.com, mayoclinic.org