National Vaccine Advisory Committee Issues Recommended Use for RotaTeq(R) - Vaccine against rotavirus could save important hospital and ER resources



    /NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO UNITED STATES NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR FOR
    DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES/

    MONTREAL, Jan. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - The National Advisory Committee on
Immunization (NACI) published its recommendation today on RotaTeq(R)
(rotavirus vaccine, live, oral, pentavalent), the first vaccine available in
Canada to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis in infants - the most common cause
of severe gastroenteritis in children under three. In its recommendation, NACI
acknowledges that "...individual infants and their families are likely to
benefit from immunization with RotaTeq(R). The vaccine has been approved for
use in infants 6 to 32 weeks of age and should be offered to infants whose
parents/guardians wish to reduce the risk of rotavirus. The first dose must be
given within 12 weeks of age."(1)
    NACI also noted that the implementation of a universal RotaTeq(R)
immunization program of all Canadian infants could be expected to prevent as
many as 56,000 cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis, 33,000 physician visits,
15,000 emergency department visits and from 1,000 to 5,000 hospitalizations
annually.(2)
    "We are very pleased with the statement from the National Advisory
Committee on Immunization," said Dawn Graham, President of Merck Frosst Canada
Ltd. "Merck Frosst is proud of its vaccine research and development and even
prouder knowing that RotaTeq(R) can play an important role in reducing the
burden on our over stretched healthcare system."

    RotaTeq(R) prevents 98 per cent of severe cases of rotavirus

    An oral vaccine, RotaTeq(R) was approved by Health Canada in August 2006
for the prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis caused by the serotypes G1,
G2, G3, G4 and G-serotypes that contain P1(8) when administered to infants.(3)
These rotavirus strains are responsible for approximately 94 per cent of
rotavirus disease in Canada. In clinical trials, the vaccine prevented 74 per
cent of all rotavirus gastroenteritis cases and 98 per cent of the severe
cases.(4)

    About NACI

    The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is a committee of
recognized experts in the fields of paediatrics, infectious diseases,
immunology, medical microbiology, internal medicine and public health. The
Committee reports to the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, and works with
departmental staff of the Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control
of the Public Health Agency of Canada to provide ongoing and timely medical,
scientific and public health advice. NACI makes recommendations for the use of
vaccines approved in Canada and also advises on the need for national
vaccination strategies.

    About Merck Frosst

    At Merck Frosst, patients come first. Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. is a
research-driven pharmaceutical company discovering, developing and marketing a
broad range of innovative medicines and vaccines to improve human health.
Merck Frosst is one of the top 20 R&D investors in Canada, with an investment
of $114 million in 2006. More information about Merck Frosst is available at
http://www.merckfrosst.com.

    Forward-Looking Statement

    This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is
defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These
statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks
and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set
forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements
regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No
forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ
materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly
update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information,
future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release
should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's
business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements in Item 1
of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2006, and in its periodic
reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by
reference.

    (R) Registered trademark of Merck & Co., Inc. Used under license.

    
    ----------------------------------
    (1) Canadian Communicable Disease Report. January 2008, volume 34,
        page 26.

    (2) Canadian Communicable Disease Report. January 2008, volume 34,
        page 25.

    (3) RotaTeq(R) Product Monograph approved on August 1, 2006.

    (4) Vesikari T et al. Safety and Efficacy of a Pentavalent
        Human-Bovine (WC3) Reassortant Rotavirus Vaccine. N Engl J Med
        2006;354;1:23-33
    




For further information:

For further information: Sheila Murphy, Manager, Public Affairs, Merck
Frosst Canada Ltd., (514) 428-2748; Dan Brennan, NATIONAL PharmaCom, (514)
843-2325


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