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Harmful side effects of vaccination against rotavirus — which kills millions of children worldwide, mainly in developing countries — could be avoided with a new vaccine, say researchers. Unlike the previous vaccine, it does not create an increased risk of bowel blockage, a problem that led to its predecessor's withdrawal in the United States.

The findings were presented on 31 October at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. The vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, was tested in more than 63,000 infants in Latin America and Finland. Children who were vaccinated and those who received a placebo vaccine developed bowel blockages in equal proportions.

The new vaccine, known as Rotarix, has been licensed for use in Mexico. GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals aims to obtain licenses for its use in the rest of Latin America, Asia, and Europe. The company also intends to start trials in the United States.

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