Vietnamese institute introduces anti-diarrhea vaccine

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The Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) under the Health Ministry announced it has successfully produced a vaccine against a common form of diarrhea, after more than 10 years of study.

The IVAC started its study on the production of a vaccine against Rotavirus, the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children, in 1998.

The vaccine, called Rotavin, was recently approved by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Vietnamese National Institute for Control of Vaccine and Biologicals for clinical use, according to IVAC.

The vaccine has been tested on 30 adult patients and 1,000 children aged between six and 12 weeks old in the two northern provinces of Phu Tho and Thai Binh.

The results show it is safe for both adults and children, IVAC said.

According to IVAC, the price of Vietnamese-made vaccine is one-third the cost of an imported vaccine (one imported vaccine shot costs around US$34).

Le Thi Luan, IVAC's deputy director, said the institute is planning to expand production of the vaccine to sell it on the domestic market.

In Vietnam, more than half of annual diarrhea cases among children aged below five are caused by Rotavirus. Some 5,300 Vietnamese children below five die from diarrhea each year.

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