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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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FDA Approves Vaccine Against Childhood Diarrhea
2 September 1998 8:00 pm
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week approved the first vaccine against a leading cause of childhood diarrhea. The vaccine fights off infection by rotaviruses, which each year hospitalize more than 50,000 U.S. children and kill nearly 1 million children worldwide.
Rotaviruses attack the lining of the small intestine, often leading to severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration. The oral vaccine contains crippled live viral particles that trigger the body to produce antibodies, which fight off later infections by the bug. In clinical studies, the vaccine prevented 50% of rotaviral illnesses and cut severe diarrhea cases by 80% or more.
The vaccine was developed in the 1980s by virologist and physician Albert Kapikian and his colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, and received an initial nod from an FDA advisory panel last December (ScienceNOW, 15 December 1997). The vaccine's approval makes it the best hope for combating a virus that is so prevalent that it infects 75% of children before age 5, says Kapikian.
The vaccine "could have a major impact in developing countries," adds National Institutes of Health virologist Catherine Laughlin. But she and others are concerned about just how quickly the vaccine can be distributed. Wyeth-Ayerst, the vaccine's manufacturer, says it plans to charge $38 a dose for the three-dose vaccine in the United States, but is awaiting regulatory approval in other countries before setting prices overseas. "It would be a tragedy if the price kept it from getting to the developing world," says Kapikian. But a Wyeth-Ayerst spokesperson says that the company has previously offered other vaccines at sharply reduced prices for developing countries and may follow that strategy here as well.