Dr. Kapikian has devoted a major part of his career to working on rotavirus since its discovery almost 25 years ago by Australian investigators. He and his colleagues in NIAID's LID developed and patented the vaccine, which, with assistance from many outside collaborators, has been tested in nearly 18,000 people in the United States and abroad.
"The development of the quadrivalent rotavirus vaccine evaluated in the study represents the culmination of a long and highly creative process of research and development at the National Institutes of Health," comments Gerald T. Keusch, M.D., and Richard A. Cash, M.D., M.P.H., both affiliated with the Harvard Institute for International Development, in a companion editorial in the Journal.
"To be there from the beginning has been a great privilege," Dr. Kapikian says. "But what's most exciting and gratifying to me as a physician is to see that most babies can be protected from a severe disease with a product that has been developed in our laboratory."
Dr. Fauci expresses his admiration for their achievement to date. "Dr. Kapikian and others in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases have been at the forefront of the effort to develop a rotavirus vaccine. Their ingenuity, perseverance and leadership have contributed enormously to the development of this important vaccine."
In the United States, rotavirus causes more than 3 million cases of childhood
diarrhea during the cooler months of each year, leading to an estimated 500,000
doctor visits, 55,000 to 100,000 hospitalizations and 20 to 100 deaths.
Rotavirus illness costs the U.S
Contact: Laurie K. Doepel
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases