EGH Associate Professor and team leader, Dr. Richard Rheingans, Research Coordinator, John Anderson, and two EGH PhD students, Ben Anderson and Poulomy Chakraborty, recently attended meetings with PATH and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington. The students’ exposure to global scientific and policy leaders in the area of rotavirus vaccination gave them new insights on how science can drive improvements in global health through policy change (as well as reinforce their passion for making it happen). These meetings were part of an ongoing project by the UF team to estimate the health impact and cost-effectiveness of introducing rotavirus vaccine in India.
Rotavirus vaccination introduction in India is one of the The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s highest priorities. The Foundation is working closely with the Indian government to maximize the health impact of rotavirus vaccination. The EGH team uses demographic and health data to develop a model that explores regional and socioeconomic effects on rotavirus vaccination impact and cost-effectiveness. Preliminary results indicate that increases to current coverage in routine vaccinations or improvements in efficacy (e.g. through probiotics, zinc or revised dose schedules) could be the most cost-effective strategies, pending the results of recent vaccination trials and additional health and demographic data. The meeting also produced exciting opportunities for the EGH team to collaborate with Indian researchers as the project moves forward. The EGH team has been invited to present the recent results in India in May, alongside the first public presentation of the Phase 2 results of an Indian vaccine candidate.