Researchers at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health recently published an article in PLoS Medicine that examined the performance of the rotavirus vaccine among children in low-income countries. Dr. Julia Baker, postdoctoral fellow at Rollins, was lead author on the study.
Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrheal disease and diarrheal-related deaths globally. In part, this is because rotavirus vaccines are less successful at triggering an effective immune response among children in lower-income settings, such as in South Asia and Africa, which is also where 90 percent of rotavirus deaths occur.
“In this study, we sought to figure out why rotavirus vaccines don’t perform as well for children in lower-income countries, since these are the places where effective vaccines are needed most,” says Dr. Baker. “The scientific community has known for some time that rotavirus vaccines are about 90 percent effective in high-income countries and 50 percent effective in low-income countries. But no individual study could explain why.”
The researchers analyzed data on over 7,000 infants from 33 countries that participated in 22 of GSK’s Rotarix® vaccine trials to determine which factors were related to the vaccine’s lower performance in low-income countries.
Results showed that children who received the oral poliovirus vaccine at the same time as the rotavirus vaccine had a poorer immune response than those who received the rotavirus vaccine on its own.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on January 10