Rotavirus was once the leading cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children in the United States. Although it rarely caused deaths in the United States, in countries where medial facilities were limited, rotavirus infection was estimated to kill 600,000 infants and children each year. Recognizing the potential to impact this devastating disease, in the 1980s Wistar researchers, in collaboration with researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, developed a rotavirus vaccine by combining bovine and human rotavirus into a re-assortment virus.
Added to the recommended vaccine schedule for all U.S. infants in 2006, the vaccine has since been launched worldwide as the first rotavirus vaccine, and has saved millions of young lives. It is estimated that Wistar’s rotavirus vaccine saves American children 250,000 emergency room visits and 70,000 hospitalizations annually. This translates to an estimated $61 million annual savings for our healthcare system.
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