Rotavirus vaccination: successes and challenges

Rotavirus diarrhoea kills almost half a million infants and young children each year. Rotavirus vaccines are being introduced into childhood immunisation programmes to reduce this unacceptable burden of disease. While evidence of their early impact in the Americas and Europe is striking, their greatest value in reducing childhood deaths in Africa and Asia is yet to be fully realised. This lecture will review major achievements in the global battle against rotavirus and explore remaining challenges to successful disease control.

Professor Cunliffe is Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Liverpool and Honorary Consultant Microbiologist, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
He trained as a clinical microbiologist in Edinburgh and Liverpool and obtained a PhD from the University of Liverpool in 2001. His research interest is the epidemiology and prevention of diarrhoeal disease in children. Since the award in 1996 of a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship in Clinical Tropical Medicine, Professor Cunliffe has led a long-term programme of rotavirus research in children in Malawi. This included a pivotal, Phase III clinical trial of human rotavirus vaccine which resulted in a global rotavirus vaccine recommendation by WHO.

Professor Cunliffe's work has been published in leading medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet and Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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