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[afro-nets] Drug could help combat diarrhoea, say researchers

Drug could help combat diarrhoea, say researchers

Drug could help combat diarrhoea, say researchers

Rotavirus can cause vomiting, fever and diarrhoea
Hepeng Jia
14 June 2006
Source: SciDev.Net

Researchers have shown that a drug can help combat rotavirus infection, the 
main cause of diarrhoea in children and a major cause of death in the 
developing world.

Their results published online yesterday (13 June) in The Lancet show that a 
three-day course of nitazoxanide greatly shortened the duration of severe 
rotavirus diarrhoea in children.

Oral rehydration has so far been the only way of treating the infection, which 
can cause vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, dehydration and watery diarrhoea.

Two new rotavirus vaccines have been licensed in some countries but will not be 
widely available for another 2-3 years (see Double vaccine victory over 

Jean-François Rossignol of the Romark Institute for Medical Research, United 
States, and colleagues studied 50 children admitted to the Cairo University 
Children's Hospital in Egypt with severe rotavirus diarrhoea.

All the children were given oral rehydration and either nitazoxanide ?already 
an approved diarrhoea treatment in the United States and widely available in 
Latin America and India? or a placebo, twice a day for three days.

The team found that those on nitazoxanide recovered after an average of 31 
hours less than half the 75 hours it took the placebo group to recover. None of 
the children taking the new drug had any major side effects.

"The results reported here are encouraging and might lead us to think about new 
approaches to managing rotavirus disease in children," say the researchers.

The journal also published yesterday a review of developments in rotavirus 
vaccine research.

Link to full paper in Lancet*
Reference: The Lancet doi 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68852-1 (2006)

Claudio Schuftan

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