An avid investigator of rotavirus for more than 25 years, Dr. George Armah hopes that his own drive is reflected in the momentum of future policy decisions on rotavirus vaccines in Africa. Such policies are boosted by data from critical studies including the one he directed on behalf of PATH and Merck to evaluate the RotaTeq® vaccine in Ghana.
Above all, he wants to see his team’s work ease the burden of parents who travel miles on bicycle or by foot to seek treatment for their ailing children. Prevention with rotavirus vaccines could be an important solution.
Dr. Armah’s initial work with rotaviruses focused on strain identification and epidemiology, eventually leading to his post as researcher and principal investigator on immunogenicity studies of rotavirus vaccines manufactured by Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline.
In mid-2006, PATH partnered with the Navrongo Health Research Centre, where Dr. Armah led a team of researchers conducting a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of RotaTeq® among infants. The partnership allows the Navrongo Centre to build capacity in human resources and research skills, and in turn the investigators contributed crucial data not only to inform the use of rotavirus vaccines in Ghana but also to benefit the global public health community.
With promising study results published in the Lancet in 2010, and with the Government of Ghana's decision to introduce rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines, Dr. Armah saw first-hand an easing of the burden on parents who live far from clinical care and the simple treatments needed to overcome rotavirus infections. On April 26, 2012, he witnessed the dramatic fruits of his team's labors as Ghana added rotavirus vaccine to its national immunization program, bringing prevention through vaccination to all of the country's children.