The New York Times recently reported a major breakthrough in treatment of rotavirus thanks to work of the Gates foundation and Doctors Without Borders. In 2013, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored a major study which found that rotavirus was a prominent cause of death for young children around the globe. More than 200,000 children under five die every year from rotavirus, with half of those deaths occurring in India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Unlike most other fatal illnesses for infants, rotavirus is one of the few that is not causes by bacteria or parasites, which are more easily treatable with antibiotic drugs. The Gates-sponsored study emphasized the importance of developing an effective vaccine for the virus. Last week, a trial conducted by Doctors Without Borders found a new vaccine from the Serum Institute of India to be 67% effective in preventing severe episodes of the rotavirus.
Three hundred medical professionals administered the vaccine to 3,500 children in 132 villages across Niger. The vaccine is expected to be cheaper than current alternatives at $6 for three doses, and can maintain its effectiveness without refrigeration for several months -- aspects that are particularly promising for areas without electricity. The vaccine can be distributed by the United Nations after receiving approval from the World Health Organization.
Read more at The New York Times.