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FDA approves Rotarix [Rotavirus Vaccine, live, oral], the first vaccine licensed to complete the rotavirus immunisation series by four months of age


Vaccine offers early protection with only two doses against the most commonly circulating rotavirus types in the U.S

GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Rotarix® [Rotavirus Vaccine, live, oral] for the prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis in infants. Rotarix will offer protection against the most commonly circulating rotavirus types in the U.S. and allow infants to complete the vaccination series by four months of age. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that children complete the rotavirus immunization series by six months of age. Since rotavirus disproportionately affects young children -- severe rotavirus diarrhea and dehydration can occur as young as three months of age -- Rotarix could help prevent many of the 55,000-70,000 hospitalizations of young children that result from rotavirus in the U.S. each year.

“Among children less than five years of age in the U.S. who are hospitalised due to rotavirus symptoms, approximately one in five is younger than six months of age,” said Barbara Howe, M.D., Vice President and Director, North American Vaccine Development, GlaxoSmithKline. “With only two doses, Rotarix allows infants to complete the vaccination series against rotavirus earlier than ever before, which may prevent many of the emergency department visits and hospitalizations that are a burden on families and the healthcare system.”

Not only does Rotarix confer protection at an early age, but clinical trials have shown that protection is broad and sustained. Rotarix is indicated for the prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis caused by G1 and non-G1 types (G3, G4, and G9) when administered as a two-dose series in infants and children. Clinical data published on the two-dose series of Rotarix show that protection was sustained through the first two years of life and was highly efficacious against rotavirus hospitalizations (96%) and severe rotavirus gastroenteritis (90%). In addition, Rotarix was effective against rotavirus gastroenteritis of any severity (79%). Specifically, significant protection was demonstrated against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis during two rotavirus seasons caused by types G1 (96%), G2 (86%), G3 (94%), G4 (95%), and G9 (85%), the most commonly circulating rotavirus types in the U.S.

“Studies have shown that naturally occurring rotavirus infection protects against subsequent moderate to severe rotavirus gastroenteritis regardless of the infecting serotype,” David I. Bernstein, M.D., M.A., Director, Infectious Diseases; Gamble Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “Rotarix was developed to mimic natural infection and to protect against rotavirus gastroenteritis without regard to serotype.”

The FDA’s approval of Rotarix was based on one of the largest clinical development plans undertaken by a vaccine manufacturer and includes data from nearly 75,000 infants. These clinical trials were conducted in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa and reflect an ethnically diverse population.

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend that infants receive routine rotavirus vaccination in order to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis. Rotarix will be commercially available in the U.S. in the second half of 2008.


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