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MMR vaccination could prevent inflammation from coronavirus

There is increasing evidence that the MMR vaccination (measles, mumps, rubella) against COVID-19 could be beneficial. This also applies if it is not specifically about the new type of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The active ingredient could help prevent inflammation caused by the coronavirus, which is linked to the disease’s most severe symptoms.

The role of MMR vaccination

researcher examines a bottle of mmr vaccination against covid-19 symptoms

Several clinical studies are being conducted around the world to test whether the use of the BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine, which protects against tuberculosis (TB), could be effective in COVID-19. Scientists believe the vaccine could boost a person’s immune response, lower their SARS-CoV-2 levels, and reduce symptoms associated with COVID-19. A new report suggests that the MMR vaccine, which is routinely given in childhood, may serve a similar purpose. The researchers believe the vaccine could dampen the severe inflammation associated with COVID-19 and mortality. For this reason, they propose a clinical study for healthcare workers. The type of vaccines that are effective against unrelated infectious diseases are known as live attenuated vaccines. This means that they contain real viruses or bacteria that scientists have weakened in a laboratory.

coroanvirus mutation covid-19 sars cov 2 microscopic illustration

Studies show that these vaccines protect against other infections by adjusting the immune system in non-specific ways. This type of non-specific immune response is the first line of defense against infection and is considered an innate immune response. Scientists have also shown that myeloid suppressor cells can reduce inflammation and mortality in mouse infection models. In their own research, they found that MMR vaccination with a weakened fungus can protect against sepsis. In addition, such a vaccine could induce these cells in people with COVID-19. This could help them fight pneumonia and sepsis. As evidence, they cite the most recent case in which 955 sailors on the USS Roosevelt tested positive for COVID-19 but showed only mild symptoms.

Medical perspectives

Doctor injects mmr vaccination into arm of patient with covid-19

The researchers suspect that this could be because all US Navy recruits are receiving the MMR vaccination. However, it is likely that her age and fitness also contributed to her recovery. Further evidence of a link comes from epidemiological data. People who live in areas that routinely receive such vaccines have lower death rates from the coronavirus. COVID-19 is also less likely to affect children, which may also have links to MMR vaccination. While age is a known risk factor for the severity of the disease, the fact that many children have been exposed to live attenuated vaccines in recent years could also play a role in their protection, the article said.

bottle with vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella at the doctor

Adults who received this vaccine as children are likely to still have antibodies to measles, mumps, and rubella. However, it is unlikely that they will still have myeloid suppressor cells. This means they would need a booster vaccination to reap the potential benefits against COVID-19. The researchers have proposed a clinical trial of MMR vaccination in high-risk healthcare workers and first responders. They also received a grant to compare the MMR and BCG vaccines in an animal model of COVID-19. If the authors’ hypothesis the study so is correct, the use of the MMR vaccine could be a beneficial, low risk and action to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.