Vaccine Powder Could Save Thousands of Lives

No needles necessary.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Mar 2017
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Photo: Shutterstock

Vaccines save lives. And a new iteration of a familiar immunization might just save 100,000 more. A powder version of the rotavirus vaccine is in the works, which has a longer shelf life and more durability than its liquid counterpart.

First of all, what’s rotavirus? The extremely contagious virus can causes serious diarrhea in infants and young children. In underdeveloped countries specifically, this can be deadly; it claims about 200,000 lives each year. This new powder is intended for sub-Saharan Africa, where higher temperatures and fewer storage solutions, largely because of limited electricity, have hindered vaccine success rates.

The vaccine, referred to as BRV-PV, can live at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for months and room temperature for years. Once ready to be administered, it just needs to be dissolved in a salt solution and dropped on baby’s tongue.

A report published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine says it’s about 70 percent effective. The next step? Getting approved by the World Health Organization.

H/T NPR

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