A bit of wizardly conjuration involving the words “it is believed” can make things transmute from nice-ideas-if-they-work into facts—if they’re muttered with the correct intonation from the throats of state-sanctioned scientists. It is, at least, a nifty way to hide the fact that the rotavirus vaccine has caused new types of rotavirus.
by Heidi Stevenson
A new study produced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) documents that the rotavirus vaccine results in a new variety of rotavirus. The study’s authors report that the CDC operates the New Vaccine Surveillance Network that is concerned with acute gastroenteritis in children less than five years of age. They state:
This surveillance has detected the emergence of G12P and G9P rotavirus genotypes, as well as 3 reported instances of US children infected with G8P rotavirus. During the 2009 winter season (December 2008–June 2009) in Rochester, New York, 54 (30%) of 183 enrolled children with acute gastroenteritis had rotavirus infection. Fifty (94%) of 51 rotavirus strains were typical US strains, with G or P antigens contained in the licensed rotavirus vaccines; 3 were G8P. One strain, however, appeared to be an unusual reassortant not previously reported in human infection. We describe this novel rotavirus genotype, G14P, found along with enteric adenovirus in a stool sample from a child with diarrhea.
To put it simply, in 2009 the survey uncovered a child with diarrhea (acute gastroenteritis infection) who had a new (novel) type of rotavirus infection. They labeled the new variety as G14P. The child’s illness was indistinguishable from typical rotavirus infections.
Types of Rotavirus
In the United States, there is a limited number of rotavirus strains. They’re identified by two types of protein on the outer coat of the virus in structures called outer capsids. One is called G and the other P. Specific types are given numbers. The new rotavirus discovered is labeled G14P.
There are a total of 16 G-types and 28 P-types. There are, therefore, a very large number of potential variations in rotaviruses, one for every possible G and P combination.
In the US, there are two brands of rotavirus vaccine: RotaTeq and Rotarix. RotaTeq contains antigens against G1, G2, G3, and G4 varieties, and Rotarix contains G1, G3, G4, and G9 varieties.