Rotaviral Food Security



The invention of an inexpensive rotavirus vaccine may prove a greater contribution to food security than the Food Security Bill.

Why? India has terrible rates of juvenile malnourishment. The key reason is not a scarcity of food — though that does happen in many places — the real problem is infantile diarrhoea. Too many of these children cannot hold the food in them for the roughly one hour needed to extract nourishment.

This is one of the flaws of the Food Security Bill, it addressed the issue of putting grain on the plate but nothing much else afterward.

The rotavirus vaccine — their are four such microorganisms that cause this disease — is a major step towards finding a permanent cure to diarrhoea and thus juvenile malnourishment.

It brings the present price for such treatments from about Rs. 2000 to about Rs. 50. If similar vaccines are developed for the other pathogens — shigella etc — then a huge stride in malnutrition will have been solved.

Perhaps the billions to be spent on the Food Security Bill could be diverted into this area?

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