Innovative vaccine preventing child deaths from diarrhoea trialled in Niger

Diarrhea is the second biggest cause of death in infants and children. Most of these deaths occur in low-income countries. In such situations, preventive measures such as vaccinations have an enormous impact.

Severine Bonnet MSF

According to the results of a recent trial in Niger, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on 23 March, a new and innovative vaccine – known as BRV-PV – has been shown to be both safe and effective against rotavirus.

Rotavirus infection is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea and kills an estimated 1,300 children each day, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.

On the recent trial, MSF Medical Director Dr Micaela Serafini said “This is a game-changer. We believe that the new vaccine can bring protection against rotavirus to the children who need it most.”

An efficacy trial of the BRV-PV vaccine – conducted by MSF’s research and epidemiology branch, Epicentre, in collaboration with the Nigerien Ministry of Health, the Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and other partners – was recently conducted in Niger’s Maradi region, involving more than 4,000 children under two years old. Results showed that the vaccine has no safety concerns and has been proven efficacious against severe gastroenteritis.

The BRV-PV vaccine is currently under review by the World Health Organization (WHO) for pre-qualification. Once approved, low-income countries will be able to procure the vaccine at an affordable price and roll it out in their countries.

The new vaccine is particularly adapted to the strains found in sub-Saharan Africa.

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