Recommend, 2019

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Share They invent a variant of rice that protects against rotavirus

Armando @armando_bastida

The rotavirus virus is the culprit of most episodes of severe diarrhea in infants and children. It produces relatively severe gastroenteritis that means that, due to the risk of dehydration, children must be admitted to the hospital to be hydrated through serum. About 450, 000 annual deaths of children under 5 are responsible, being the majority in poor countries, because they do not have the same means as us.

Many of the parents know about it because of the existence of the optional vaccine, which is administered orally to babies under 6 months of age. Well, now a group of researchers has wanted to do their bit in the fight against the virus and have created a variant of rice that protects whoever eats it from rotavirus.

The rice has been created at the University of Tokyo, Japan, and as they explain has the particularity of producing a specific antibody to rotavirus. The authors have published an article discussing it in the Journal of Clinical Investigation .

To know the effect of their transgenic rice they did experiments with immunosuppressed mice and with others without immune problems and they saw that all of them acquired protection against the virus . The good thing about this is that rice would protect immunosuppressed children, who are much more likely to die from a rotavirus infection and whose response to the vaccine is usually quite poor.

In addition, rice can also be used as a treatment once a child or a person has acquired the disease, which if we take into account that rice is the most recommended astringent food when someone has diarrhea, makes it the ideal food.

The researchers also explain in the article that the effectiveness of rice is maintained even after being stored more than a year and that there is no loss of properties when boiled.

Now they lack data on effectiveness when consumed by humans in what seems a great strategy to reduce the mortality and morbidity of rotavirus at low cost, probably better than the vaccine for children in poor countries, where it has a more limited effectiveness that in the first world and where many children can not even access it, being able to administer only to children under six months, three doses being necessary before that moment.

Let's hope that it can soon be used and commercialized, and that it really be at low cost, for all the children of those countries and, why not, for the rest of the world.

Via | Europa Press Photo | M Glasgow on Flickr in Babies and more | In winter, there are twice as many cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis, a free route for vaccines "suspicious" against rotavirus, the vaccine against rotavirus, the best medical research of the year according to The Lancet