Severe diarrhoea in children caused by rotavirus, which proves fatal for at least a million each year, can be relieved by a short course of a drug , researchers said yesterday.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhoea in children, and can spread through water, food or on contact with contaminated surfaces.
The affected children belong mainly to the underdeveloped countries .
Nitazoxanide, which is sold as Alinia,by the U.S. company Romark Laboratories, cured diarrhoea in a little more than a day in young children with a severe form of the illness and had gained the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002.
According to Jean-Francois Rossignol , of The Romark Institute for Medical Research in Tampa, Florida., the results are encouraging.
Effects of nitazoxanide administered twice a day for three days were compared with a placebo in 50 children with severe diarrhoea , at the Cairo University Children's Hospital, last summer. The drug cleared the illness by approximately 31 hours without ill effects. .Larger trials are to be conducted .
The results of the study have been published online by The Lancet and will also be presented at the 7th International Rotavirus Workshop in Lisbon, Portugal.