Progress Update
January 2017

A Letter from the Chair

Dear ROTA Council members, partners, and supporters,

It's a happy new year for mothers and babies in Lahore, where leaders of Pakistan's Punjab region provided the first doses of rotavirus vaccine as part of one of Asia's largest introductions to date. 

Late last year, Ireland introduced rotavirus vaccine for children, joining a club of 17 countries in the European region. About 33% of countries in this region have introduced the vaccine, compared with 54% in the Americas and 64% of countries in the African region. Council members are reviewing the evidence for introduction at meetings in these and other regions in the coming months (see below). 

Let us know what else you're planning in 2017 to advance the science and expand access to rotavirus vaccines for all children. 

Mathu Santosham
In this edition...

News and Announcements 

Meet us in Singapore: 6th Asian Vaccine Conference

We are delighted to present a symposium on rotavirus (8:30-10am Saturday 29 April) at the 6th Asian Vaccine Conference (ASVAC) in Singapore.

ROTA Council will also organize a separate event for colleagues in middle-income countries to discuss evidence and advocacy for rotavirus vaccines. Please let us know if you are planning to attend ASVAC 2017. We hope to see you there.  

New video—vaccine impact in Nicaragua, Ghana, and Malawi

Our friends at have unveiled a new advocacy video entitled From introduction to impact: The story of rotavirus vaccines. 

To document the impact of rotavirus vaccine introductions and the remaining work left to be done, DefeatDD met with scientists, healthcare providers, parents, advocates, and leaders in Nicaragua, Ghana, and Malawi. These early-introducer countries played pivotal roles in the global fight against rotavirus. 

Watch the video, then share with a colleague!

Over 1 million children targeted for rotavirus immunization in Punjab, Pakistan

Pakistan's Punjab province has introduced rotavirus vaccine into its routine immunization schedule, first in six districts with a population of more than one million children, with a later introduction in the rest of the province. A national rollout will follow.

"The introduction of rotavirus vaccine is a historical moment for the Punjab. The vaccine will reduce diarrheal-related mortality in the province by a significant margin," said Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Khawaja Imran Nazir, as reported by the News and other newspapers attending a press conference on 12 January.

Punjab reports around 1.2 million cases of diarrhea annually with thousands of deaths, including about 40-45% related to rotavirus.  

Photo above and at top by Asad Zaidi.

More Upcoming Events

ROTA Council members are among those planning to attend the following meetings. What else is on your calendar this year? Let us know!

11th African Rotavirus Symposium - Mangochi, Malawi, 28-30 May 2017

4th European Expert Meeting on Rotavirus Vaccination - Utrecht, the Netherlands, 20-22 March 2017

Vaccines for Enteric Diseases - Albufeira, Portugal, 9-11 October 2017

Recap of Bangkok Workshop: Evidence-based advocacy for rotavirus prevention in Asia 

Participants from 13 countries joined together at the regional advocacy workshop Evidence-based advocacy for rotavirus prevention in Asia, held 7 November 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Topics covered included rotavirus burden, cost effectiveness and economic impact, and barriers to introduction. Participants also worked with leading advocates in the region to develop skills such as delivering an effective elevator pitch and reaching influential audiences on social media. 

Thanks to all who attended!
Photos from the event and a full story are here.

Featured Research: Potential Impact of a Rotavirus Vaccine Program in Bangladesh

Rotavirus is a major cause of morbidity for Bangladeshi children, accounting for nearly 2/3 of hospitalizations for acute gastroenteritis.

Rotavirus was detected in 64% of the 3,783 children hospitalized for AGE over a three-year period at 7 hospitals throughout Bangladesh. Peak detection rates of over 80% were found from November through February. These data highlight the potential value of rotavirus vaccination in Bangladesh, and will be key for future measurement of vaccine impact. 

Hospital-Based Surveillance for Rotavirus Gastroenteritis among Young Children in Bangladesh: Defining the Potential Impact of a Rotavirus Vaccine Program. Satter S, Gastanaduy P, Islam K, Rahman M, Rahman M, Luby S, Heffelfinger J, Parashar U, Gurley E. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2016 Oct 25. 

Featured Media: Gagandeep Kang in 

"While vaccine efficacy is higher in richer countries, the absolute reduction in severe disease per hundred children annually is much greater in poorer countries because of increased disease burden," said ROTA Council member Gagandeep Kang, executive director, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad and winner of Infosys Prize 2016 Laureate for Life Sciences.

Read the rest of her interview with India's PHARMABIZ here.

Recent Member Publications

The ROTA Council website is updated bimonthly with new rotavirus and diarrheal disease-related publications authored by Council members and core partners. 

Analysis of a genotype G3P[9] rotavirus a strain that shows evidence of multiple reassortment events between animal and human rotaviruses.
Bezerra DA, Guerra SF, Serra AC, Fecury PC, Bandeira RS, Penha ET Jr, Lobo PS, Sousa EC Jr, Linhares AC, Soares LS, Mascarenhas JD.
J Med Virol. 2016 Nov 11. 
Could the gut microbiome be key to understanding and improving rotavirus vaccine performance in high disease burden settings?
Iturriza-Gómara M, Cunliffe NA.
J Infect Dis. 2016 Oct 31. pii: jiw521.
Detection of a novel equine-like G3 Rotavirus associated with acute gastroenteritis in Brazil.
Guerra SF, Soares LS, Lobo PS, Penha Júnior ET, Sousa Júnior EC, Bezerra DA, Vaz LR, Linhares AC, Mascarenhas JD.
J Gen Virol. 2016 Oct 18. 
Detection of the first G6P[14] human rotavirus strain in an infant with diarrhoea in Ghana.
Damanka S, Lartey B, Agbemabiese C, Dennis FE, Adiku T, Nyarko K, Ofori M, Armah GE.
Virol J. 2016 Nov 10;13(1):183.
Effect of human rotavirus vaccine on severe diarrhea in African infants.
Madhi SA, Cunliffe NA, Steele D, Witte D, Kirsten M, Louw C, Ngwira B, Victor JC, Gillard PH, Cheuvart BB, Han HH, Neuzil KM.
Malawi Med J. 2016 Sep;28(3):108-114.
Vaccine impact: Benefits for human health.
Doherty M, Buchy P, Standaert B, Giaquinto C, Prado-Cohrs D.
Vaccine. 2016 Dec 20;34(52):6707-6714.  

View More Recent Member Publications

Spotlight sur les outils de promotion: PowerPoint en français

L'année dernier, le ROTA Council a publié le rapport « Le Rotavirus: Fréquent, Grave, Dévastateur, et Pourtant Évitable » . Les données du rapport sont présentées dans la présentation PowerPoint disponible ici.

Slides summarizing the ROTA Council white paper are also available in English.

Introduction Updates

These countries have introduced rotavirus vaccines since our last update:
  • Ireland
  • Pakistan (Punjab)
A full list of countries that have introduced rotavirus vaccines is available on our website.

Rotavirus in the Media: Pakistan, India, Malaysia, More

Sharp fall in GP visits for acute gastroenteritis after rotavirus vaccination introduction. EurekAlert (U.K.). 20 Dec 2016
Rota Virus vaccine soon. The Nation (Pakistan). 15 Dec 2016
Vaccines have potential to reduce diseases & hospitalizations: Dr. Gagandeep Kang. PharmaBiz (India). 15 Dec 2016
Include rotavirus vaccine in national immunisation plans. New Straits Times Online (Malaysia). 14 Dec 2016
Garin justifies dengue drug cost. Manila Standard (Philippines). 12 Dec 2016
Be careful: increasing the number of rotavirus infections in our country. (Hungary). 8 Dec 2016
EAC Secures UGX 152 Billion for Regional Immunization Drive. URN (Africa). 23 Nov 2016
Rollout of vaccines to protect babies from meningitis B and rotavirus from December. Independent (Ireland). 22 Nov 2016
Diarrhea 101: Time To Talk About Something We Don't Usually Talk About. 88.5 WFDD (U.S.). 18 Nov 2016
New strategy: Punjab strives for improvements in immunisation. The Express Tribune (Pakistan). 18 Nov 2016
Assessing the Risk of Intussusception and Rotavirus Vaccine Safety in Canada. Santavac. 11 Nov 2016
Social Cabinet deals with comprehensive care and vaccination campaign budget. El Telegrafo (Ecuador). 10 Nov 2016
Do not take rotavirus infection lightly. Utusan Online (Malaysia). 3 Nov 2016
Preventive Actions for Winter Season. Bajo Palabra (Mexico). 3 Nov 2016
Nudge to raise vaccine spend fourfold. The Telegraph (India). 30 Oct 2016
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