A new paper suggests that live attenuated vaccines such as MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) may prevent the severe lung inflammation and sepsis associated with Covid-19 infection. The paper is published online in the journal mBio.
A live attenuated vaccine is derived from a disease-causing pathogen, which has been weakened in the laboratory so that it does not cause severe illness when a person is vaccinated with it.
The new research paper refers to growing evidence that live attenuated vaccines can activate certain immune cells to train leukocytes (the white blood cells of the immune system) to mount a more effective defence against unrelated infections.
The researchers used a live attenuated fungal strain and demonstrated, in the lab, that vaccination with it trained innate protection against sepsis (blood poisoning) caused by a combination of disease-causing fungi and bacteria.
The authors proposed that the protection is produced by cells called MDSCs. They stressed that this live attenuated MMR vaccine concept is not suggested to be directed against Covid-19, but instead an immune preventive measure against the severe inflammatory symptoms of Covid-19.
The research was conducted by Paul Fidel Jr of LSU Health New Orleans, and Mairi Noverr of Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Dr Fidel said in a statement: “The use of childhood live attenuated vaccines such as MMR given to adults to induce bystander cells that can dampen or reduce severe complications associated with Covd-19 infection is a low risk – high reward preventive measure during a critical period of the pandemic. These bystander cells are long-lived but not life-long. Anyone who had an MMR vaccination as a child, while likely to still have immune antibodies directed against measles, mumps, or rubella, will not likely still have the immune cells directed against sepsis. So, it could be important to get the MMR vaccination as an adult to protect better against Covid-related sepsis.”
— Source: LSU Health New Orleans
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