Maintaining Momentum for Rotavirus Immunization in Africa during the COVID-19 Era: Report of the 13th African Rotavirus Symposium

Frederick N. Were, Khuzwayo C. Jere, George E. Armah, M. Jeffrey Mphahlele, Jason M. Mwenda, A. Duncan Steele*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The 13th African Rotavirus Symposium was held as a virtual event hosted by the University of Nairobi, Kenya and The Kenya Paediatric Association on 3rd and 4th November 2021. This biennial event organized under the auspices of the African Rotavirus Network shapes the agenda for rotavirus research and prevention on the continent, attracting key international and regional opinion leaders, researchers, and public health scientists. The African Rotavirus Network is a regional network of institutions initially established in 1999, and now encompassing much of the diarrheal disease and rotavirus related research in Africa, in collaboration with the World Health Organization African Regional Office (WHO-AFRO), Ministries of Health, and other partners. Surges in SARS-CoV2 variants and concomitant travel restrictions limited the meeting to a webinar platform with invited scientific presentations and scientific presentations from selected abstracts. The scientific program covered updates on burden of diarrheal diseases including rotavirus, the genomic characterization of rotavirus strains pre- and post-rotavirus vaccine introduction, and data from clinical evaluation of new rotavirus vaccines in Africa. Finally, 42 of the 54 African countries have fully introduced rotavirus vaccination at the time of the meeting, including the two recently WHO pre-qualified vaccines from India. Nonetheless, the full benefit of rotavirus vaccination is yet to be realized in Africa where approximately 80% of the global burden of rotavirus mortality exists.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1463
JournalVaccines
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • African rotavirus symposium
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • SARS-CoV2
  • diarrhea
  • rotavirus
  • rotavirus vaccine

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