Benefits trump risks of rotavirus vaccine-US panel

GAITHERSBURG, Md., May 7 (BestGrowthStock) – The benefits of
rotavirus vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L: ) and Merck &
Co Inc (MRK.N: ) outweigh any risk from recently discovered
contamination with a pig virus, members of a U.S. advisory
panel said on Friday.

Pieces of DNA from porcine circovirus, or PCV, have been
detected in Glaxo’s Rotarix and Merck’s Rotateq. Health
officials say there is no evidence the virus is harmful to
people.

Members of a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel
said the vaccines carried impressive benefits from preventing
rotavirus, which can cause fatal diarrhea, and agreed there was
no evidence so far of harm to people from PCV.

Any risks “are at best theoretical,” said Dr. Melinda
Wharton, a panelist and deputy director of the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for
Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

“Based on where we are with current knowledge, to me the
known benefits clearly outweigh the risks,” she said.

The panel did not take any votes on formal recommendations
to the agency.

In March the FDA and Glaxo advised doctors to stop using
Rotarix after PCV-1 was found in the vaccine. Merck then tested
its vaccine and the FDA announced Thursday the company found
pieces of DNA from PCV-1 and a related virus, PCV-2.

The FDA said it wanted the advisory panel’s input before
making new recommendations on either vaccine.

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(Reporting by Lisa Richwine, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

Benefits trump risks of rotavirus vaccine-US panel