The Food and Drug Administration has announced the licensing of a new vaccine against a disease responsible for tens of thousands of hospitalizations in the United States and hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world each year.
The vaccine, developed by Merck & Co., Inc., will be sold as ROTATE® to protect infants against rotavirus infection. Highly contagious, rotavirus is the most common cause of severe dehydrating diarrhea in infants and young children.
The early research that underpins the new vaccine was conducted by three scientists at the Wistar Institute and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia between 1980 and 1991, at which time Merck took on the task of developing the vaccine for the clinic.
The scientists are H. Fred Clark, DVM, Ph.D.; Paul A. Offit, M.D.; and Stanley A. Plotkin, M.D.
Clark and Offit are on faculty at CHOP, where Clark is a research professor of pediatrics and Offit is chief of infectious diseases and the Maurice R. Hilleman Endowed Chair in Vaccinology; both are adjunct professors at Wistar. Plotkin, an emeritus professor at Wistar, was the developer of a number of vaccines, including the rubella vaccine responsible for eradicating that disease in the United States, according to the CDC.