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‘Protection Against Lethal Infections’: Researchers Say They Can Help Prevent Severe Effects Of Coronavirus

A team of researchers in Louisiana has proposed a method of combating the coronavirus: issuing booster doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, CNN reported.

The MMR vaccine is a “live vaccine,” using highly weakened versions of the measles, mumps and rubella viruses to provide protection to the immune system that goes beyond just the injected viruses. The MMR vaccine works to boost general immunity, as well as train the body to recognize specific viruses, which may be effective in combating COVID-19.

The vaccine boosts a patient’s immunity, which may allow greater protection against the coronavirus.

“There is mounting evidence that live attenuated vaccines provide nonspecific protection against lethal infections unrelated to the target pathogen of the vaccine by inducing ‘trained’ nonspecific innate immune cells for improved host responses against subsequent infections,” Paul Fidel of Louisiana State University and Mairi Noverr of Tulane University wrote in a letter to microbiology journal mBio.

Fidel and Noverr propose clinical trials with MMR vaccines in high risk populations. They claim these trials could provide a “‘low-risk-high-reward’ preventative measure in saving lives,” in their letter. The potential benefits of issuing the vaccine may be especially effective for protecting health care workers, CNN reported.

Though, this is not a proposed vaccination.

“We emphasize this is strictly a preventive measure against the worst inflammatory sequelae of COVID-19 for those exposed/infected and does not represent an antiviral therapy or vaccine against COVID-19 in any manner,” Fidel and Noverr explained.

As the race for a COVID-19 vaccine continues, companies like Johnson & Johnson have expedited their research and development in hopes of finding a vaccination. On June 10th, the company announced that they would accelerate their initiation of in-human trials, expected to begin in the second half of July.

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