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Rotavirus Vaccine Research

The majority of rotavirus disease is caused by five serotypes: G1, G2, G3, G4 and G9. Today, vaccines are available to protect against one or more of these different strains. The vaccines offer 90 to 100 percent protection against severe rotavirus diarrhea. Efficacy has been demonstrated primarily in the United States and Europe. Studies in low- and middle-income countries are needed because early evidence suggests the vaccine efficacy is lower than in high-income countries.

NIAID-supported researchers are studying the two rotavirus vaccines licensed for infants in the United States: RotaTeq and Rotarix. According to current recommendations and depending on which vaccine is used, infants receive a series of two or three doses. In many cases, infants receive the same vaccine for all of their doses. In some situations, however, healthcare providers may switch from one product to the other to complete the vaccine series. NIAID-supported researchers conducted a clinical trial to see if switching from one vaccine to another works as well as using the same product for all of the doses. In this trial all 5 possible combinations of the two vaccines were tested. Researchers found that each of the combinations provided immunity to rotavirus infection. These findings provide needed evidence to health care providers administering rotavirus vaccination to infants and support the effectiveness of using a mixed rotavirus vaccine schedule.

In other efforts, a collaboration between NIAID, the government of India, Bharat Biotech International, and additional partners resulted in ROTAVAC, the first rotavirus vaccine developed entirely in India. Based on the successful findings from studies fueled by this partnership, ROTAVAC obtained licensure in India in 2014.

Current research efforts are directed at improving the effectiveness of rotavirus vaccines across more serotypes and further decreasing unwanted side effects of vaccination.

Featured Research

Efforts of NIAID Scientists Led to First Licensed Rotavirus Vaccine

Two-Dose Rotavirus Vaccine Regimen Initiated During Newborn Period Prevents Rotavirus Diarrhea​​

Last Updated April 20, 2016