Published online 10 June 2009 | Nature 459, 764 (2009) | doi:10.1038/459764c

News in Brief

Rotavirus vaccines win global recommendation

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that health authorities in all nations routinely vaccinate young children against rotavirus, which causes 2 million hospitalizations and 500,000 deaths from severe diarrhoeal dehydration every year.

Rotavirus vaccines are already recommended for use in the Americas and Europe. But more than 85% of deaths caused by rotavirus occur in developing countries in Asia and Africa, says the WHO.

The recommendation was made by the WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts, which reviewed a clinical trial of GlaxoSmithKline's Rotarix vaccine in South Africa and Malawi that cut the occurrence of severe diarrhoeal episodes. RotaTeq, a rotavirus vaccine developed by Merck, is being tested in clinical trials in Japan, India, Mali, Ghana, Kenya, Bangladesh and Vietnam. 

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