Dhaka baby receiving oral vaccine

Improving Rotavirus Vaccination: Refining Correlates of Protection and Evaluating Durability

Oral vaccines, which work exceptionally well to protect infants and children in the U.S., can fail to do so in developing countries. Case in point – the oral rotavirus vaccine has a strong track record in preventing the majority of cases of rotavirus-diarrhea hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. In developing world settings, however, the vaccine has only worked half as well, leading to more than 450,000 children’s deaths annually due to rotavirus-related dehydration.

Understanding and remedying this paradox is the goal and challenge of a new $2.2 million dollar 2.5-year research award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to University of Vermont Vaccine Testing Center (VTC) investigators. Led by Beth Kirkpatrick, M.D., Professor of Medicine and VTC Director, co-investigators on the grant include Sean Diehl, Ph.D., E. Ross Colgate, M.P.H., Dorothy Dickson, M.Sc., and Benjamin Lee, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist who joined the VTC, UVM College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, and The UVM Children’s Hospital in August 2015. The grant, titled “Improving Rotavirus Vaccination: Refining Correlates of Protection and Evaluating Durability,” builds on previous Gates Foundation-supported research performed by VTC team members between 2010 and 2014.