Rotavirus, as the name suggests, is a kind of virus that readily infects children and infants. The virus can cause severe watery diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Rotavirus-infected children usually suffer from dehydration and in severe cases, they need to be hospitalized. Rotavirus vaccine is a highly successful method to protect children from rotavirus infection. Before the introduction of rotavirus vaccines in the market, rotavirus disease was a serious health issue among children in major developed and developing countries. For instance, in the U.S., almost all children have at least one rotavirus infection within the span of five years from birth; around 400,000 children are taken to doctors for treatment; and around 50–60 deaths occur every year. However, after the introduction of rotavirus vaccines, the number of emergency visits and hospitalizations due to rotavirus infection has dropped significantly. Four out of five children that are vaccinated get protection from severe rotavirus infection.
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The global rotavirus vaccines market can be segmented based on product and distribution channel. Among products, two vaccines are licensed for use in the U.S. viz. RotaTeq (RV5) and Rotarix (RV1). RotaTeq is administered in three doses and Rotarix is administered in two doses at the interval of every two months. The first dose in administered after two months of birth. Currently, two key players operate in the rotavirus vaccines market, which are WHO-prequalified: Merck and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Two rotavirus vaccines currently being developed are expected to gain pre-qualification from the WHO between 2017 and 2018. One of these is Rotavac, which is being manufactured by Bharat Biotech. It was licensed for use in India in 2014. Based on distribution channel, the global rotavirus vaccines market can be classified into hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics / health care centers associated with government programs. The inflow of patients to hospitals is expected to increase during the forecast period, as hospitals are considered to be more reliable and they have a large number of suppliers, reimbursement authority, and government support.
Increasing incidence of rotavirus infection among children is a major factor that drives the market, as it leads to the rise in demand for rotavirus vaccines. Rotavirus disease is highly contagious and it spreads easily among children due to their poor hygiene habits. The spread of rotavirus infection is a common issue in hospitals and daycare settings. Along with this, support from organizations such as UNICEF and GAVI (is a vaccine alliance of multiple countries under which 45 countries are approved for Rotavirus vaccine support) for large scale vaccination, supply availability, and access to affordable prices is another factor fueling the rotavirus vaccines market. There are a few restrictions in delivering the rotavirus vaccines. For instance, a baby or infant who had a history of allergic reaction upon the administration of rotavirus vaccine should not be administered another dose. Also, diarrhea or vomiting caused by any other microorganism should not be treated with rotavirus vaccines. A virus named porcine circovirus is found in both rotavirus vaccines. Even though porcine circovirus does not have any harmful effect and there is no known safety risk, it is not preferred for critical patients. Moreover, delayed timelines for new manufacturers, delays in planned introductions, rising demand that exceeds the current supply, and uncertain demand from non-GAVI MICs are other factors that restrict the market for rotavirus vaccines.