Study suggests MMR vaccine offers some protection against COVID-19 symptoms

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Researchers in Louisiana have found a common childhood vaccine can reduce the symptoms of COVID-19. Reporting in the American Society for Microbiology, they say the vaccine for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) is not only safe, but may be effective against the virus.

The World Health Organization says more than 25 COVID-19 vaccines are currently in human trials. In the meantime, researchers in louisiana are advising healthcare workers, people in nursing homes and others at high risk to be vaccinated against mmr for extra protection until COVID-19 vaccines are available.

Dr. Phillip Coule/CMO, AU Medical Center: “That immune stimulation that occurs from MMR vaccination kind of falls off after age 50, which is also when we start seeing mortality from this disease ticking up.”

The MMR vaccine uses highly weakened versions of the measles, mumps and rubella viruses. It stimulates a broad response and goes beyond the production of antibodies.

Dr. Phillip Coule/CMO, AU Medical Center:”There are other things that would explain that but in addition there is some similarity to structure between the virus that causes Rubella and SARS CoV-2 suggests it mights.”

Researchers Paul Fidel Jr, PhD (Louisiana State University Health School of Dentistry) and his wife Mari Noverr, PhD (Tulane University School of Medicine) say evidence of its efficacy is growing. They call this a “real-world” illustration: those 955 sailors on the USS Roosevelt who tested positive for COVID-19 had only mild symptoms, with just one hospitalization. They note that MMR vaccinations are given to all U.S. Navy recruits.

Other data shows a correlation between geographical locations and reduced covid-19 death rates.

Hong Kong, for example, instituted a free MMR adult vaccination program in 2019… and only 4 people have died in a country of 7.5 million.

Dr. Coule/Chief Medical Officer, AU Health: “South Korea, similarly has had excellent ourcomes with deaths related to COVID and they have an aggressive vaccination program because of a measles outbreak. There’s no direct science to say this absolutely provides any direct protection but there’s lots of reasons to believe that it might.”

The study authors say the finding does not eliminate the need for a specific SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, but offers some protection at least for healthcare workers and others who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

We checked with a couple of local pharmacies to see if there’s an increase in adults getting the MMR vaccine. Barney’s Pharmacy told us tons of people are asking about it and there is a big increase demand. In Georgia, you do need a prescription. Your doctor can just call it in to the pharmacy.

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