Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Rotavirus vaccines: making guinea pigs of the poor?


Recently, the United States ended its rotavirus vaccination programme amid fears over side effects — yet trials of the vaccine are being introduced in developing countries. The virus is one of the most common causes of infant diarrhoea.

In this letter, Dherain Narula and colleagues from St. Stephen's hospital in Delhi, India, argue that in developing countries, trials of the vaccine are unethical. They say such trials counter the Helsinki Declaration — which suggests they should only be carried out in populations set to use the drug — because poorer countries simply cannot afford the vaccine.

Urging trials in the developing world will, the authors say, force people in these countries to act as guinea pigs for the industrialised world.

Link to full letter by Dherain Narula et al in The Lancet

Reference: The Lancet 364, 245 (2004)

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.