Rotavirus epidemiology: the Asian Rotavirus Surveillance Network.
Nelson EAS., Bresee JS., Parashar UD., Widdowson M-A., Glass RI., Asian Rotavirus Surveillance Network None.
Availability of new rotavirus vaccines has highlighted the need to collect local disease and economic burden data to aid decision makers at global, regional and country level. The World Health Organization and the GAVI Alliance recommended that generic protocols be used and that regional surveillance networks be established to collect these data, thereby helping to fast-track the introduction of these new vaccines into developing countries. Nine countries and regions participated in the first phase of the Asian Rotavirus Surveillance Network (ARSN), which collected data over a 2-year period during 2001-2003. Overall 45% of diarrhoea admissions in the region were positive for rotavirus, which was higher than had been anticipated. Significant rotavirus strain diversity was noted during the surveillance period. Data collection for a second phase of the ARSN commenced in 2004 and included a greater proportion of poorer countries that would in future be eligible for funding support for rotavirus immunization from GAVI. Limited economic evaluations in Asia have demonstrated the potential for new rotavirus vaccines to be cost-effective but more local analyses are required. Despite the ARSN's comprehensive data from a mix of developed and developing countries, Asia has lagged the Americas in terms of the introduction of rotavirus vaccines into National Immunization Programmes (NIPs). Lack on rotavirus vaccine efficacy data in Asia, particularly in poorer populations, will have contributed to this delay. Thus ensuring that all global regions are simultaneously involved in the evaluation of new vaccines from the beginning and also encouraging more regional collaborations of Ministry of Health representatives could help to accelerate the introduction of new vaccines into NIPs.