Image: Courtesy of Umesh D. Parashar and Roger I. Glass
 HOMING IN ON THE TARGET: Rotavirus particles visualized by immune electron microscopy in stool filtrate from a child with acute gastroenteritis. The 70-nm particles possess a distinctive double-walled outer capsid.

Ridding the world of smallpox was a triumph of 20th century medical science: Mass vaccinations directly averted some 350 million cases and saved 40 million lives. So, humanitarian hopes were similarly high when a rotavirus vaccine was developed in the 1990s with comparable potential to save young children from severe gastroenteritis.1-5 But that vaccine's controversial withdrawal from use ultimately put those hopes into limbo for years.

The optimism however, has reemerged with new vaccines that are in the pipeline. And perhaps within the next five years, the battle against rotavirus can be rejoined. Although public awareness is low, rotavirus is one of the world's worst infectious disease agents, killing...

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