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EVALUATING NEW THERMOSTABLE ROTAVIRUS VACCINE

Experts from the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) are studying the effectiveness and safety of a new enhanced thermostable formulation of a rotavirus vaccine called RotaTeqTM in Mali. The formulation, developed by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., is more resistant to temperature fluctuations and packaged in vials with display indicators that signal temperature deviations. This improved vaccine is expected to provide distinct benefits in countries with high ambient temperatures and unreliable cold chains.

The project is led by Karen Kotloff, MD, conducted by the CVD-Mali, and funded by Merck. Dr. Kotloff has dedicated her career to enteric diseases. She led the clinical and epidemiological activities for the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS), the largest, most comprehensive study of childhood diarrheal diseases conducted in developing country settings, and she is leading the Vaccine Impact on Diarrhea in Africa (VIDA) study. VIDA is a follow-on study to GEMS to assess the causes and burden of diarrhea in children under five and determine the effectiveness of rotavirus vaccine at three sites in sub-Saharan Africa: Mali, Kenya, and The Gambia.