UWI Crest Campus Image: Mona Curve image for menu aesthetics
Coloured Mural
Marketing and Communications Office
Search |

University of the West Indies Tests Rotavirus Vaccine

A new vaccine to protect babies against the rotavirus gastroenteritis is being tested at the University of the West Indies/University Hospital of the West Indies, Vaccines Infectious Diseases Centre. The local trial began in February 2002 and is being led by Professor Celia Christie, an Infectious Diseases specialist with international experience in clinical trials. Other members of the research team include Dr. Kirk Thame, a gastroenterologist, as well as research nurses Hyacinth Smith, Lavern Malcolm and Jasmine Brown.
The rotavirus germ is the main cause of gastroenteritis in young children, with severe vomiting and loose stools leading to death from severe dehydration. The Jamaican Ministry of Health has reported eight deaths from rotavirus gastroenteritis within a recent two-week period. Jamaica is one of 12 countries worldwide where the new vaccine is being tested. The other participating countries are the United States of America, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, Sweden and Taiwan. The trial has been fully endorsed by the United States Food and Drugs Administration, the Jamaican Ministry of Health and also by the UWI/UHWI Ethics Committee.
Some 876 Jamaican children have enrolled in the trial thus far. Those who are eligible for the local study include all infants who are born at the University Hospital who are aged six to 12 weeks. According to Professor Christie, participating babies should be well and should not have received the oral polio vaccine, as an injectable polio vaccine is given to them instead. The rotavirus vaccine is given in three doses at six week intervals. Professor Christie noted that the rotavirus vaccine has not been associated with an increase in adverse vaccine-associated events thus far in the 52,000 children who are enrolled in the trial worldwide.
She said that the Centre is also providing free immunizations against six other childhood diseases in a single injection. The vaccines include injectable polio, meningitis –HIB, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus and a new whooping cough vaccine with improved safety and effectiveness profile. She added that the Centre also provides free child care visits for all children in the study for the first 15 to 18 months of life.

© The University of the West Indies. All rights reserved. Disclaimer | Privacy Statement
Telephone: (876) Fax: (876)
Site best viewed at 800 x 600 resolution or higher.