• Vol. 35 No. 1, 38–44
  • 15 January 2006

A Rotavirus Vaccine for Infants: The Asian Experience



Introduction: Severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in children causes significant morbidity worldwide and substantial deaths in developing countries. Hence, a live attenuated vaccine Rotarix™ was developed with human strain RIX4414 of G1P1A P[8] specificity. RIX4414 trials in infants have begun in developed and developing countries worldwide. An overview of RIX4414 in developed and developing countries and prospects with this vaccine in Asia are presented.

Methods: Completed RIX4414 trials have been reviewed.

Results: Two oral doses of RIX4414 were well tolerated with a reactogenicity profile similar to placebo. RIX4414 was also highly immunogenic, e.g., in a dose-ranging study conducted in Singapore, 98.8% to100% of infants had a vaccine take after 2 doses. RIX4414 did not affect the immune response of simultaneously administered routine infant vaccines. RIX4414 significantly reduced severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in settings where multiple serotypes including the emerging G9 type co-circulated.

Conclusion: These encouraging results warrant further evaluation of the vaccine worldwide and especially in developing countries with the highest need. Therefore, evaluation of the Rotarix™ vaccine is continuing in large phase III trials in Asia and worldwide.

Of all the enteric pathogens that infect young children, rotavirus is recognised as the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis worldwide. Rotavirus accounts for 20% of all diarrhoea-related deaths and global mortality among children less than 5 years of age is estimated at nearly half a million.

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