India: Vaccine created to prevent diarrhea


Microsoft's Bill Gates, one of the world's richest men and highest profile aid donors, gives to a child a rotavirus vaccine against diarrhea at the Ahentia Health Centre, in Awutu Senya district, in the Central Region of Ghana, on March 26, 2013. Indian scientists have said they have made a vaccine that costs about 20 times less than earlier vaccines.


Pius Utomi Ekpei

Indian scientists have unveiled a low-cost vaccine against the rotavirus, which kills hundreds of thousands of children every year.

The disease is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in infants and young children.

Rotavac will cost about $1 and hopefully prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of young people around the globe.

Earlier vaccines by Western pharmaceutical companies cost about 20 times more, making them unavailable in many poorer countries.

“The clinical results indicate that the vaccine, if licensed, could save the lives of thousands of children each year in India,” said Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan, of the Department of Biotechnology.

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The vaccine, made by Bharat Biotech, still needs to be approved by the government and the World Health Organization.

The rotavirus causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and is more deadly in Asia and Africa.

Nearly every child in the world has had the virus once by the age of five.

The vaccine is expected to be on the market within eight or nine months.