Scientists suggest MMR vaccine “may protect against coronavirus – after BCG trials begin” – The Sun

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The MMR vaccine used to prevent measles, mumps and rubella could protect against the coronavirus, scientists say.

Experts from the University of Cambridge say that the MMR vaccine, which is usually given to all infants from nine months of age, may be the reason why children are not as severely affected by Covid-19.

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    Scientists say MMR jab could protect against coronavirus1
Scientists say MMR jab could protect against coronavirusCredit: Getty – Contributor

They discovered that the key proteins in the measles, mumps, and rubella viruses have an unexpected similarity to certain proteins in the virus that causes Covid-19, known as SARS-CoV-2.

The revelation comes as trials begin to see if the BCG injection, given to many Britons to prevent tuberculosis, can also protect against the coronavirus.

The Cambridge scientists made their suggestion on the MMR jab after analyzing the structure of the MMR viruses.

They found that the “peak protein” of SARS-CoV-2 is 20% comparable to the “fusion protein” of measles.

Structural similarities

It is not known if this is close enough to trigger a cross-reactive immune response, but it should be the focus of future research.

Writing in the study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, the researchers said, “We hypothesize that MMR may protect against poor outcomes from Covid-19 infection.

“We therefore suggest that vaccination of at-risk age groups with MMR vaccination merits further consideration as an appropriate and timely intervention. “

Scientists reiterated that detailed studies in large human populations are needed to determine whether the MMR vaccine can reduce the severity of Covid-19.

MMR is a safe and effective combination vaccine that is normally used to protect against three separate diseases – measles, mumps and rubella – in one injection.

Decreased absorption

The full MMR vaccination cycle requires two doses, and is given at one year of age and approximately three years four months of age.

Here, 95% of five-year-olds have had the first hit – the goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) – but only 87.4% have had the second.

Earlier this month, experts revealed that the drop in consumption had put the UK at risk of a measles outbreak during the coronavirus outbreak.

Unicef ​​has estimated that 117 million young people in 37 countries may not be vaccinated because Covid-19 forces social distancing and puts pressure on health services.

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In addition to this, many young adults born in the late 1990s and early 2000s missed the MMR vaccine when they were children.

Indeed, in 1998, British doctor Andrew Wakefield made headlines around the world claiming that there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

His findings – published in the medical journal The Lancet – are said to have aroused widespread concern among parents who jabbed their children.

The Lancet retracted history in 2010 after Wakefield’s article was deemed “dishonest” by the General Medical Council.

He was later struck off before the story was declared fraudulent by the British Medical Journal in 2011.

Could protect millions

An impressive 115 vaccine candidates are currently under investigation to see if they will work as an effective coronavirus vaccine.

One vaccine under test is the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which was developed a century ago to increase immunity against tuberculosis – a bacterial lung infection.

Researchers believe the vaccine could protect millions of people from the killer Covid-19 and are expected to launch tests in four countries.

In a six-month trial, some 4,000 healthcare workers in hospitals across Australia will receive the BCG vaccine, reported Bloomberg.

Researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne said: “Although it was originally developed for tuberculosis and is still administered to over 130 million babies a year for this purpose, BCG strengthens also human “first line” immunity, causing them to respond to germs with higher intensity. . “

Participants will be enrolled in the trial within weeks of accelerated approval from the health authorities.

If successful, this could mean that the vaccine – which costs as little as £ 30 per dose – could provide an inexpensive and readily available method of warding off the coronavirus.

Lead researcher Nigel Curtis, professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Melbourne and head of the infectious diseases unit at the city’s Royal Children’s Hospital, said: “The clock is ticking. “

Some participating workers will be vaccinated against seasonal flu and tuberculosis, while others will receive the flu vaccine alone to establish a baseline for comparison.

Researchers will take blood samples at the start and end of the test to determine who contracted the coronavirus, and participants will record all symptoms.

In the middle of the trial, analysts will review the results for any indications that the TB vaccine is working.

In Africa, studies in infants have found that the BCG vaccine protects against tuberculosis and other pediatric infections – improving the body’s innate immune system and in particular the response of white blood cells.

Professor Curtis said, “It can boost the immune system so that it can defend itself better against a whole range of different infections, a whole range of different viruses and bacteria in a much more generalized way. “

It is also reported that a British trial is planned at the University of Exeter in Devon.

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He added, “We need to think about all the possible ways to protect healthcare workers.

“And there is going to be a particular need to reduce the time that our health workers are absent. “

It is hoped that if the tests show a sufficiently strong effect, the jab could be made available to the public in a few months.

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