Rotavac, the super awesome cheap vaccine we were talking about in class, is now launched to be available to the rest of the world. This 3-dose vaccine has comparable vaccine efficacy as other licensed vaccines but is significantly cheaper. The drug company, Bharat Biotech, is offering the drug at $1 to governments of low income countries. The vaccine is affordable, safe, effective, and cross-protective against multiple strains. The perfect vaccine!
This addresses a serious issue. There are still100k deaths a year in India due to rotavirus diarrhea. Globally rotavirus disease burden is estimated at ~ 450,000 deaths, and ~ 2.0 million hospitalizations, mostly in low income countries. Prevention of rotavirus infections would lead to a significant reduction in infant mortality rates and reduce economic impact of hospitalizations to national governments across the globe.
What's most interesting about this vaccine is how it became to be. ROTAVAC® was developed through a unique social innovation partnership under the Indo-US Vaccine Action Program that brought together the experience and expertise of Indian and international researchers as well as the public and private sectors. The vaccine originated from an attenuated (weakened) strain of rotavirus that was isolated from an Indian child at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi in 1985-86. Since then, partners have included DBT, Bharat Biotech, the US National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine (Harry Greenberg), and the nongovernmental organization, PATH.
Excited to see more collaborations like these to develop new drugs and vaccines!