Improve rotavirus diagnostics to guide decisions on vaccine introduction

Rotavirus infection is the leading cause of severe diarrhea and dehydration in young children and kills around 600,000 children each year, mostly in developing countries. Several vaccines against rotavirus have been or are being developed to reduce this burden. For optimal results, rotavirus vaccines need to protect against the rotavirus strains circulating where the vaccines are used.

In Uganda, Information on the epidemiology of rotavirus and distribution of virus strains is limited. This information is needed to guide decisions on the introduction of a rotavirus vaccine that will protect the country’s children.

Through an IANPHI research seed grant, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) is conducting a two-year study on the prevalence and strains of rotavirus in children under five years in Uganda. The study will estimate the proportion of diarrhea hospitalizations in children under five that are attributable to rotavirus, identify the prevalent strains of rotavirus in the population under surveillance, and monitor temporal trends.

Results will inform decisions of Ministry of Health and the National Drug Authority on the licensing and introduction of rotavirus vaccine in Uganda.