Merck's RotaTeq will be saving lives in Rwanda

Rotavirus infections are one of the leading causes of death in children worldwide, and in Rwanda over one-fifth of babies aged 6 to 11 months suffer from diarrhea caused by infections. Rwanda's government has launched a national rotavirus vaccination program using Merck's ($MRK) RotaTeq oral rotavirus vaccine. The program will include all infants in the country, meaning that more than 100,000 children will get the vaccine before the end of 2012. This could cut the current 3,500 deaths a year from the infection. RotaTeq is given as an oral liquid, so requires no specific administration skills, and is given between the ages of 6 and 32 weeks. The vaccine is now available in a number of developing countries, including Nicaragua, and has been studied in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Vietnam. It is approved in more than 100 countries with more than 71 million doses distributed worldwide. RotaTeq targets the strains of rotavirus responsible for approximately 90% of rotavirus disease worldwide. Article | Press release

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