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New Vaccine Could Wipe Out Rotavirus

New Vaccine Could Wipe Out Rotavirus

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Ed Yeates ReportingFour Utah clinics are in the final stages of testing an experimental vaccine that could wipe out one of the most common and contagious childhood diseases. It's a potentially life threatening viral infection which almost all children get before age five.

The Alpine Clinic in Salt Lake is one of four clinics in the state conducting what are called stage three clinic trials on a new vaccine to stop the spread of Rotavirus.

The Jordan Ridge Clinic in South Jordan is another testing the vaccine. Before final trials end next spring, more than 65-thousand babies - in addition to those who've already been tested - will have had either a placebo or the experimental vaccine.

Keith Ramsey, M.D., Pediatrician, Jordan Ridge Clinic: “This is the longest studied vaccine that I’ve seen. And we’ve now studied it in over 57,000 babies, and we haven’t seen any side effects at all.”

Three month-old Davin Larson now joins those thousands across the country participating in the trials. There are no shots, just three sweetened doses by mouth at two, four and six months.

Sherrie Larson, Davin's Mother: "I had my fourth child on it and he has not had any indication of having any illness. He has not had to go to the hospital. He has not had severe diarrhea or dehydration."

Rotavirus is the number one cause of infant hospitalizations in this country. Internationally it kills 600 to 800-thousand babies every year.

Keith Ramsey, M.D., Pediatrician, Jordan Ridge Clinic: "About one out of 50 children that gets Rotavirus will become dehydrated because the vomiting and diarrhea can become quite severe, and fever. And it can go on for several weeks."

No wonder the CDC wants to get rid of Rotavirus. Since there are multiple strains a child can pick up one strain when they're younger and yet another when they're older. And it spreads like wildfire.

If these final clinical trials look good the Food and Drug Administration will most likely approve use of the oral vaccine for all children as part of their regular immunization package.

The four clinics in Utah conducting the trials are: the Alpine Clinic in Salt Lake, The Jordan Ridge Clinic in South Jordan, Wee Care Pediatrics in Layton, and Dixie Pediatrics in St. George.

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