Volume 2, Number 1—January 1996
News and Notes
Rotavirus Vaccine Workshop Held
More than 125 participants from at least 15 countries attended the Fifth Rotavirus Vaccine Workshop at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, October 16-17, 1995.
Rotavirus has emerged as the most important cause of severe diarrhea in children worldwide. It is a problem not only in developing countries, where it kills an estimated 870,000 children each year, but also in the United States, where it remains the most important single cause of hospitalization or clinic visits for childhood diarrhea.
Moreover, although studies from many countries indicate that only four serotypes are predominant worldwide, some strains at every site studied cannot be serotyped. In some countries such as India, the diversity of strains is extensive. Further studies are needed to define the extent of cross-protection against these strains that is induced by the vaccine to determine whether additional antigens need to be included in vaccines for such areas.
This workshop included sessions on epidemiology, virology, pathogenesis and immunity, and vaccines currently being tested. Each session had numerous presentations by leaders in the field of rotavirus research. Researchers reported that several live oral rotavirus vaccines, based on animal strains of rotavirus combined with reassortant strains, have been tested in field trials in children. These appear to protect American children against rotavirus and are more efficacious against severe disease. These vaccines like natural protection, are not 100% protective so many investigators are exploring alternative approaches to vaccines such as the use of virus-like particles, native DNA, and microencapsulation of antigens.
No published volume of proceedings from the workshop is planned, but a supplemental issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases scheduled for early 1996 will contain papers from the meeting.
The workshop was held under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health, Emory University School of Medicine, and the World Health Organization.
For further information, contact
Roger I. Glass, Global Program for Vaccines and Immunizations, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland; Phone: 41-22-791-2698/2681; Fax: 41-22-791-4860