Mimi Murphy's Medical Breakthroughs: Rotavirus Vaccine

Medical Breakthroughs
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Each year 600,000 children worldwide die from rotavirus, an intestinal infection that causes severe diarrhea and can lead to dehydration. While past efforts to find a safe and effective vaccine have failed, a new treatment could be the answer doctors have been looking for.

Being part of medical research doesn't seem to excite 3-month-old Alexys. But it has her mom, Julie, very interested.

"I'll do anything to keep her out of the hospital and keep her from getting sick," Julie tells Ivanhoe.

Alexys is part of a study of a vaccine for rotavirus, the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children.

Each year 3 million babies and preschoolers in the United States get rotavirus. Sixty-five thousand are hospitalized. Some even die. In 1999, a vaccine for rotavirus was pulled off the market for causing a life-threatening bowel problem in children.

Pediatrician Russell Bain, M.D., believes the problem has been fixed and a new vaccine is under study.

"So far, we can say that there is no association, which we're very excited about. We see no major side effects to this vaccine," Dr. Bain, of Babies and Beyond and Suncoast Clinical Research in New Port Richey, Fla., tells Ivanhoe.

Dr. Bain has a personal interest in the study. At 2 years old, his daughter, Courtney, contracted rotavirus and spent four days in the hospital.

"It was a difficult situation. Not only do I preach it, but I actually have gone through it. As a parent, it's frustrating," he says.

Today 10-year-old Courtney is doing fine, but her dad believes a vaccine could have spared her that hospital stay. He hopes it will help other children in the future.

"That's what we're all about. We're about saving lives and not having children suffer through diseases," says Dr. Bain.

Rotavirus spreads through contact with stool usually through improperly cleaned changing tables or toilets. Doctors say it can spread quickly in a daycare situation. As for the vaccine, it could take two years for it to get FDA approval.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Bobbi Tafara
Suncoast Clinical Research
5340 Gulf Dr. Ste. 203
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 849-4131