Vaccines against rotavirus, which can kill infants by causing severe diarrhoea, have the potential to save the lives of 2 million children over the next ten years, new research has found.

Studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine show death rates could be cut in Africa by 61% and 35% in Mexico.

Merck and Co and GlaxoSmithKline make vaccines for rotavirus, which kills more than 500,000 children under five each year, Reuters reports.

Vaccines for rotavirus are given as standard immunisations in Canada and the US, but not in Africa where nearly half of cases occur.