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A Northern Territory-based, Menzies School of Health Research project investigating the effectiveness of a vaccine to prevent severe diarrhea in children has been recognised as one of the country's ten best research projects for 2013 by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia's peak body for supporting health and medical research.
The Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) project, Tackling preventable diseases: improving rotavirus vaccines, was recently bestowed the prestigious honour through the NHMRC’s publication, Ten of the Best Research Projects 2013.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in infants and young children globally. The NT historically records very high rates of hospitalisation for rotavirus gastroenteritis especially among Indigenous children. Infection is caused by close person-to-person contact and touching contaminated hands, faeces and vomit.
Chief Investigator, Professor Ross Andrews said the recognition was a fantastic result for Menzies and the project team and highlighted an important body of work in improving vaccines for infectious diseases. 'Understanding which factors influence immune responses to rotavirus vaccines is likely to bring us closer to improved immunisation strategies against this disease,' said Professor Andrews.
The research team will now shift focus to identifying how existing rotavirus vaccines can be delivered more effectively to Indigenous children.
Source: Menzies School of Health Research