The MMR vaccine may protect some people against severe Covid-19, a study claims.
Researchers at the University of Georgia say the blow, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, could also prevent people from catching the coronavirus.
They found a 29% lower chance of severe Covid-19 among those who had a MMR stroke as a child.
All children in the UK are offered the vaccine and about 91% are currently immunized by their second birthday.
In the study, people with the highest levels of mumps-specific antibodies were “immunized” with Covid-19, the researchers said. Antibodies are substances produced by the immune system to kill invading viruses and bacteria.
The same effect was not observed with antibodies specific for measles or rubella that were directed by the same vaccine.
The participants lived in close proximity to people with Covid-1
The findings may explain why children appear to have a mild illness, if any, when they catch the coronavirus. The MMR blow is given to all babies at the age of nine months and again before the age of six, so the consequences of this are still very fresh in their bodies.
This is not the first time the theory has been spread by scientists who also recognize measles-free continents, including Africa and Asia, have had fewer deaths than Covid-19.
A separate team from the University of Cambridge found that the key proteins in measles, mumps and rubella viruses are similar to the proteins on the surface of the coronavirus.
In theory, this would mean that the body of a person vaccinated against MMR recognizes the coronavirus when it invades, and can quickly elicit an immune response.
A study from the University of Georgia found that people with the highest levels of mumps antibodies showed signs of immunity to coronavirus, while severe disease was more likely in groups with low mumps antibodies.
After a number of researchers suggested that MMR was protected against Covid-19, the researchers tested the theory on a group of 80 Americans.
Most have tested positive for coronavirus, ranging from mild or no symptoms to the need for a ventilator in intensive care. Each person received a score of 1 to 30 for the severity of the infection.
The group was divided into 50 people who were hit by MMR as a child and 30 who were not.
The researchers then compared the levels of antibodies specific for mumps, measles and rubella among all participants.
Antibodies are part of the immune system that help clear the infection. They are produced either when a person is infected or when they receive a vaccine, so the next time a virus appears, the body is prepared to produce antibodies specifically to fight it.
Therefore, the volunteers in the study had antibodies to MMR either because they had been vaccinated or had previously been exposed to the disease throughout their lives.
The main finding of the study was that those with a particularly strong response to mumps antibodies were less likely to suffer from severe Covid-19.
But this is only seen in those whose antibodies come from vaccination, as opposed to those who actually had the disease.
The researchers say this is probably because “the major antibodies that can protect against Covid-19 may have weakened beyond protective levels.”
CAN MMR JAB PROTECT AGAINST COVID-19?
Based on a number of observations, scientists are discussing whether the MMR strike offers any protection against Covid-19.
In April, experts from the University of Cambridge analyzed the structures of MMR diseases – measles, mumps and rubella – and coronavirus to see if there were any similarities.
They found some unexpected similarities between the proteins on the surface of the coronavirus and those of measles, mumps and rubella.
In theory, this would mean that an MMR-vaccinated person had “cross-reactive” protection against Covid-19. If their body recognizes coronavirus proteins after seeing similar MMR vaccines, they may be able to respond quickly.
But this has not been proven and it is too early to say whether this is the case.
Writing in the study before it was reviewed, the researchers said: “We hypothesize that MMR may prevent poor outcomes in Covid-19 infection.
“Therefore, we suggest that the vaccination of risk age groups with MMR vaccination deserves further consideration as appropriate for time and safe intervention.”
Some publications suggest that the BCG vaccine, which protects against tuberculosis and is given to those who are thought to be at risk of disease, can also prevent Covid-19.
But Professor Adam Young and colleagues at the University of Cambridge said MMR could be behind the effects, as BCG and MMR vaccination levels are similar.
They also suggested that countries with high MMR vaccine uptake were protected from severe outbreaks of Covid-19.
This is repeated by a report by scientists from California, including Stanford University, who says that mass vaccination programs in some countries may explain why countries have coped differently with the coronavirus.
Measles has been eradicated through extensive MMR vaccination programs in the western Pacific, as well as in parts of Asia and Africa, the team said.
In contrast, MMR vaccination programs have been problematic in the United States, the rest of America, and Europe – all of which have had devastatingly high Covid-19 cases and deaths.
In Europe, measles is no longer considered exterminated in Britain, Albania, the Czech Republic or Greece. However, only Britain is hit hard by the pandemic.
The team wrote in its report: “While travel restrictions, municipal living conditions control and government interventions play a role in controlling the spread of Covid-19, MMR vaccination programs may be the basis for huge international variations.”
High levels of antibodies to measles or rubella do not appear to offer “cross-protection” against Covid-19, despite previous studies suggesting this is the case.
Antibodies are measured in “titers”; the higher the titer level, the more someone is protected against a virus.
Results are given in random units per milliliter (AU / mL), with mumps titers between 0 and 300.
Every patient in the MMR vaccination group who is hospitalized and needs ventilation for Covid-19 has very low mumps titers – below 32 AU / ml.
Those with mild symptoms have a measurement of 134 AU / ml or less, while those without symptoms have maximum titers of 134 to 300 AU / ml.
Ten people in the vaccinated group did not test positive for coronavirus, but were in very close contact for several days without using face masks or social distancing.
They are described as ‘functionally immune’ and have the highest antibodies of all participants in the study (average 172.4 AU / ml), which suggests that they are completely protected from the virus.
Lead author Jeffrey E. Gold, president of the World Organization in Watkinsville, said: “This adds to other associations demonstrating that the MMR vaccine can be protective against Covid-19.
“This may also explain why children have a much lower incidence of Covid-19 than adults, as well as a much lower mortality rate.
“Most children get their first MMR vaccination between the ages of 12 and 15 months and their second between the ages of four and six.”
Antibodies fade over time, but can still offer protection against viruses.
The researchers found that the child had mumps antibodies below 134 AU / ml by age 14. At the same age, the spread of coronavirus increases sharply, they said.
In the United States, there are 65 percent more cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in babies under one year of age than in those over two years of age, which may be due to the fact that babies receive their first MMR dose at 12 months. he claimed.
Co-author Dr. David J. Hurley, a professor and molecular microbiologist at the University of Georgia, said: “This is the first immunological study to evaluate the link between the MMR II vaccine and Covid-19.
“A statistically significant inverse correlation between mumps titers and Covid-19 indicates that there is a related relationship that requires further investigation.
“The MMR II vaccine is considered a safe vaccine with very few side effects. If there is the ultimate benefit of preventing COVID-19 infection, preventing the spread of COVID-19, reducing the severity, or a combination of any or all of these, it is a very high-risk, low-risk intervention. “
Dr. Hurley recommends that adults over the age of 40 be given an MMR if they have never had it, whether or not they still have antibodies to the disease.
“It would be wise to vaccinate those over 40,” he said.
The average age of those in the vaccination group in the study was much younger than that in the unvaccinated group – 30 years compared to 57.
This may have skewed the results, given that age is the strongest risk factor for the severity of Covid-19.
But researchers suggest they can’t get around this, given that those who didn’t have the MMR vaccine are older, as the triple stroke was only introduced in the early 1970s.
They write in their report: “Age differentiation was the only way to separate exactly those who finally had previous MMR II vaccinations from those who did not.”
This is not the first time scientists have proposed vaccinating vulnerable people with an MMR prick to protect them from Covid-19.
A team from the University of Cambridge found in April that part of the structure of the coronavirus was similar to mumps, measles and rubella.
Although unproven, this suggests that the coronavirus will not be completely unknown to the body of someone with the MMR vaccine, and it could quickly elicit an immune response.
Writing in its report, the team said: “We therefore suggest that the vaccination of” at-risk “age groups with MMR vaccination deserves further consideration as a timely and safe intervention.”
They also suggested that Europe, the United States and the Americas had suffered greatly from the Covid-19 pandemic, as it was more difficult to stimulate the MMR vaccine.
The ingestion of the MMR vaccine is below the 95 per cent that health experts say is needed for herd immunity in the UK.
But last year, the proportion receiving their first dose in England rose to 90.6%, after peaking at 92.7% in 2013/14.
Two doses of the vaccine are needed to provide full protection against measles, and the five-year coverage was 94.5% in 2019, the same as the previous year.