Rotavirus is contagious virus and one of the leading causes of deadly childhood diarrhea, but a new vaccine announced on Wednesday could help put an end to it.

Bharat Biotech, the vaccine manufacturer, announced at a press conference in Delhi that the World Health Organization (WHO) has given them the go ahead to develop the rotavirus vaccine, ROTAVAC.

ROTAVAC is considerably cheaper than current rotavirus vaccines on the market, costing only $1 per dose.

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A vaccine against rotavirus is a big step forward in ensuring global health as rotavirus and other diarrheal diseases are the second biggest killer of children under 5 years old.

ROTAVAC also does not require a buffer, which is an additional solution that often needs to be added in order to activate vaccines. This means that the vaccine itself takes up less space in refrigeration units, making it easier to reach more people for less money.

“We are honored and delighted to become the first rotavirus vaccine from the developing world and India to be WHO Prequalified. We feel proud to dedicate this innovated in India and Made in India vaccine to the world,” Dr. Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech said in a statement. “The true impact of vaccines can be seen, when vaccinations are carried out in affected populations. The Government of India has given a big boost by making ROTAVAC available to millions in India already."

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ROTAVAC has been under development since 2000 and its WHO prequalification comes after a regulatory process started in 2016.

ROTAVAC is the second vaccine from India to receive prequalification recently, after a typhoid conjugate vaccine was approved in December.

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This New Lifesaving Rotavirus Vaccine Will Only Cost $1 Per Dose

By Jackie Marchildon