Yesterday, in New Delhi, India, the Eleventh International Rotavirus Symposium opened, commemorating thirty years of research, development and distribution of vaccines against rotavirus. 

Thirty years ago in 1984, the first International Rotavirus Symposium was convened at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. The 40 people who attended the meeting compromised a large percentage of experts worldwide working on this subject. The NIH continued to arrange the next the symposia in Maryland in 1986, 1988 and 1991.

And in 1995, the longtime leader of these efforts, the late Dr. Albert Kapikian (the 2005 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Winner) brought the symposium to Atlanta at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to coincide with the meeting of U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to consider the experiences with then current vaccine candidates.

In 2004, the Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin), under the leadership of the late Dr. Ciro de Quadros, began to organize the symposia on a biannual basis in different locations around the world.

While the symposium has a global audience and outlook, each meeting focuses special attention on the key aspects of the host region. This year, the symposium coincides with the launch of the inclusion of rotavirus vaccines in India’s National Universal Immunization Program.

The Eleventh International Rotavirus Symposium has attracted over 640 delegates from 58 countries around the world to New Delhi. The Honorable Minister of Health of India, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, and other dignitaries joined, and remarked on what truly global scientific cooperation has produced, namely   numerous vaccines to fight rotavirus and the knowledge base to use them effectively.

Sabin is proud to act as organizing secretariat for the International Rotavirus Symposium and looks forward to continuing its role as a partner in the global fight against rotavirus.