Researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute will conduct a clinical trial on a new rotavirus vaccine for babies they have developed.
Twenty babies will be given single dose of the vaccine orally. Larger trials are scheduled in Indonesia and New Zealand if the local test is successful.
An existing vaccine for local children aged six to eight weeks has been administered since 2007. The new vaccine, however, will be tested in developing countries, where rotavirus deaths are more prevalent.
''Children in our community have access to prompt medical treatment and rehydration, but in developing countries, the tragedy is that so many lives have been lost and continue to be lost, says Prof. Ruth Bishop, who discovered rotavirus in 1973 and is part of the team that developed the new rotavirus vaccine for newborns.
Rotavirus is the number one killer of children under five around the world. Two million are hospitalized each year due to severe diarrhea and dehydration. Out of this number, 500,000 die each year.
Last year, the World Health Organisation recommended the vaccination of all children to reduce child mortality.