The FDA recommended that “healthcare practitioners temporarily suspend use of the Rotarix vaccine for rotavirus immunization in the United States while the agency learns more about components of an extraneous virus detected in the vaccine, noting that there is no evidence at this time that this finding poses a safety risk. Full text of the announcement follows:
“The agency recently became aware that an independent U.S. academic research team, using a novel technique, has found DNA from porcine circovirus 1 (PCV1) in Rotarix, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. PCV1 is not known to cause illness in humans or other animals. In addition, Rotarix has been studied extensively, before and after approval, and found to have an excellent safety record.
“Follow-up tests by GlaxoSmithKline and FDA scientists confirmed the academic team’s findings and confirmed that viral components have been present since the early stages of the vaccine’s development, including during clinical studies. Preliminary testing by both the academic researchers and FDA scientists of another licensed vaccine against rotavirus infection, RotaTeq, has not detected components of PCV1.
“”We are making clinicians aware of information recently received by FDA about the Rotarix vaccine,” said Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, Commissioner for Food and Drugs. “There is no evidence at this time that there is a safety concern. FDA is recommending that clinicians temporarily suspend use of Rotarix until we can learn more about the situation. We will keep the public and the clinical community updated on our findings…”
“…In many countries, rotavirus causes so much severe illness and death that the known benefits of continued use of Rotarix far outweigh any theoretical risk of harm from the vaccine,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We anticipate that many countries will decide to continue vaccinating with Rotarix while more information becomes known.”
“FDA will continue to gather more information about the PCV1 components in Rotarix, including whether intact virus, as opposed to DNA fragments, is present. The agency is assessing current vaccine testing methods. In four to six weeks, FDA will convene an expert advisory committee and make additional recommendations on the use of rotavirus vaccines.
“FDA will provide updates to patients, providers, and the general public as more information becomes available. The agency will also continue to communicate with the World Health Organization and counterpart regulatory agencies in other countries.
WHO: Rotavirus vaccination – WHO does not recommend any change to use of Rotarix vaccine 22 March 2010
Following announcements today by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) regarding use of the rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, the World Health Organization (WHO) encourages all countries using the vaccine to carefully consider the significant benefits of continued use of the vaccine in any decisions about further use.
The FDA and EMA statements follow the recent report to the vaccine manufacturer that DNA sequences originating from porcine circovirus 1 (PCV1) had been detected in two batches of the vaccine during a study undertaken in the United States of America (USA).
WHO concurs with the views of the FDA and EMA that the findings do not present a threat to public health. Moreover, rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in young children throughout the world, with an estimated 527 000 deaths among children under five years old, most of whom live in low-income countries. Therefore, WHO does not recommend any change to use of the vaccine. The vaccine is prequalified by WHO, and the prequalification status remains unchanged.
WHO will continue to work closely with the FDA , EMA and other regulatory agencies to evaluate further information that the manufacturer will be providing as a matter of urgency.
Statement of the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety on Rotarix
On 25 March 2010, WHO’s Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) met by teleconference to review new data on Rotarix, an oral vaccine for prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis. Academic investigators recently reported to the vaccine manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, that the vaccine contains DNA from porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1). PCV1 is not known to cause disease in animals or humans. Further analysis of the master cell bank and master viral seed used for vaccine production have demonstrated the presence of PCV1 DNA, which in retrospect has been in the vaccine throughout its clinical development, including the prelicensure clinical trials. There are studies underway both by the manufacturer and others that will provide additional information to help more fully assess this new finding.
The safety of Rotarix is supported by both large clinical trials prelicensure and an extensive (>60 million doses) postlicensure safety experience. GACVS reviewed the safety data from both clinical trials and spontaneous reports, both of which supported the continued safety of Rotarix. Rotavirus gastroenteritis is the most common cause of severe diarrheal disease in young children throughout the world, with an estimated 527 000 deaths annually among children under five years old. Given the extensive clinical data supporting the safety of Rotarix and the benefits of rotavirus vaccination for children, GACVS considers that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any currently known risk associated with use of Rotarix. GACVS will continue to review data as it becomes available and will update this statement as we learn more.