Old vaccines can stop coronavirus, study advice. Scientists are skeptical.

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Interest in the cross-protective effects of vaccines has led to efforts to reuse old vaccines that may have the potential to provide at least transient protection against the coronavirus until a specific SARS vaccine- CoV-2 is developed and proven safe and effective, he said. .

“But nobody knows if this approach will work if we don’t test them,” Dr. Kottilil said. “To approve this, you have to do some really good randomized clinical trials.” There is little incentive for private companies to invest in expensive trials because older vaccines are cheap and unpatented, he added.

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Dr Christine Stabell Benn, professor of global health at the University of Southern Denmark who has studied the potential nonspecific effects of vaccines against infectious diseases, said there is “a great deal of evidence” that live attenuated vaccines can increase resistance to seemingly unrelated infections.

But the new document suffers from many limitations, she added, among which the authors did not do enough to create comparable groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, and did not disentangle the effects of various vaccines. .

She was particularly concerned about the so-called healthy user effect: People who can afford and worry about their health are very likely to both get the vaccine and be tested for the coronavirus, even without symptoms.

This “would lead to strong positive associations between vaccination and a negative test result,” Dr Benn said in an email. “The authors recognize this and are doing something to mitigate the impact, but it remains a big concern. “

Carl Zimmer contributed reporting.

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