Oral Rotavirus Vaccines: How Well Will They Work

Rotavirus vaccines hold promise to decrease the burden of severe diarrhea in the poorest countries, where 85 percent of deaths due to rotavirus occur. However, the potency of live oral vaccines is lower in these challenging settings than in middle- and upper-income countries. Many hypotheses have been suggested to explain these differences that could provide clues to improve the ultimate success of these novel vaccines. Although introduction today of even moderately effective vaccines will decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with rotavirus in low-income settings, research is urgently needed to understand why these differences in efficacy occur and what could be done to improve vaccine performance to maximize the life-saving benefits of vaccination.