Vietnam Introduces Breakthrough Vaccine

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 Vietnam’s Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) recently announced the approval of Rotavin for clinical use by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Vietnamese National Institute for Control of Vaccine and Biologicals.

The research and aim for domestic production of a rotavirus vaccine began in 1998 and proved successful after more than 10 years of study. By the end of this year, Rotavin will be the first domestically produced Rota vaccine to enter the local market alongside Rotarix (GSK, Belgium) and RotaTeq (Merck), both of which have been tested in Vietnam.

Compared to its costly counterparts, Rotavin is expected to be a fraction of the cost. According to IVAC, the price of the Vietnamese-made vaccine is one-third the cost of an imported vaccine (one imported vaccine shot costs around US$34). Le Thi Luan, Vietnam’s deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals, also reassured consumers “the quality of the vaccine is equivalent to Belgium’s Rotarix vaccine which is used in Vietnam.” An evaluation of the drug was conducted and the results show it is safe for both adults and children. The vaccine has been tested on 30 adult patients and 1,000 children aged between six and 12 weeks old in the two northern provinces of Phu Tho and Thai Binh.

Rotavirus (RV) is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children worldwide and one of the most preventable public health challenges we face today. According to the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, rotavirus is responsible for more than 500,000 child deaths every year. While nearly every child in the world is at risk of rotavirus infection, most deaths occur in developing countries, where health resources are scarce. Read more here.

Rotavirus vaccines are the best tool available for protecting children against severe and deadly diarrhea. In countries where they have already been introduced, rotavirus vaccines have proven to be highly effective and have saved thousands of children’s lives. For example, even though the prevalence is comparatively low in the U.S. versus those from developing countries, routine vaccinations for rotavirus have been widely available. Since its implementation in 2006, it has been suggested that vaccinations prevented 40,000 to 60,000 rotavirus hospitalizations each year in the U.S.