4 Sep 2014

New vaccine for babies to be launched

1:33 pm on 4 September 2014

A vaccine developed in a collaboration with Otago University and which developers say has the potential to save more than 500,000 lives worldwide will be unveiled in India today.

A baby being vaccinated.

A baby being vaccinated. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The vaccine targets rotavirus immunity, which will prevent severe bouts of diarrhoea in 90 percent of babies who are given the treatment.

The vaccine is a culmination of 40 years' research by Professor Ruth Bishop at the University of Melbourne.

A two-year clinical trial conducted in Dunedin during the past two years and involving 95 babies showed 90 percent of the babies developed an immunity to the rotavirus and avoided a potentially life-threatening bout of severe gastroenteritis.

Each year, 1500 New Zealand children under five are admitted to hospital with the rotavirus.

A new clinical trial is under way in Indonesia and it is hoped the vaccine will be available for widespread use in 2016.