- 18 Sep 2020
Lately, data crunchers have noted an unexpected string while dealing with the facts and figures related to Covid19. Samoa, a country in Oceania witnessed a wild outbreak of measles last year. To combat the consequences of the infection, the healthcare workers carried out a door to door immunization process covering 90% of the population. Oddly and fortunately enough, Samoa has been exempted from the dreadful effects of the pandemic. Similar traits have been encountered in Madagascar, Hong Kong
Image Credits: SciTech Daily
Recently, an article in the American Society for Microbiology has postulated that the admin of MMR may be highly preventive against the most severe COVID 19 complications. Such claims have further been vindicated by Dr Jeff Gold of World Organisation and Padma Shree Awardee Dr K.K. Agarwal. There is mounting evidence that live attenuated vaccines provide nonspecific protection against lethal infections unrelated to the target pathogen. Also, statistics show that countries with recent outbreaks of measles have fewer deaths and lesser illnesses from the Coronaviruses as compared to countries who are less fascinated by MMR with Italy leading the queue followed by the United Kingdom, France and the United States.
How Vaccines Improve Host Responses against Infections in general:
A vaccine works by training the human body to recognize and combat pathogens, either viruses or bacteria. To do this, certain molecules must be introduced into the body to trigger an immune response. These molecules or antigens are present on all bacteria and viruses. As soon as these antigens get injected into our body, the primary precaution is taken by the defense mechanism of our body which identifies them as hostile invaders. The body thereafter produces antibodies and remembers them for the future, in case the bacteria or virus reappears.
Image Credits: University of Leicester
In the journal, 'Could an Unrelated Live Attenuated Vaccine Serve as a Preventive Measure To Dampen Septic Inflammation Associated with COVID-19 Infection?' by Paul L. Fidel Jr. and Mairi C. Noverr, the doctors have outlined a rationale to support the use of live attenuated vaccines such as MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), as a preventive measure against the pathological inflammation and sepsis associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Live attenuated vaccines train leukocyte precursors in the bone marrow to function more effectively against broader infectious results. The trained innate response includes induction of the MDSCs that can inhibit/reduce the severe lung inflammation/sepsis associated with COVID-19. MDSC (myeloid-derived suppressor cells) are a heterogeneous group of immune cells that originate from bone marrow stem cells. Laboratory examinations have already demonstrated that vaccination with a live attenuated fungal strain induces trained innate protection against lethal polymicrobial sepsis. This research clearly shows that nonspecific vaccination can be beneficial in suppressing the magnitude of the infection.
It has been claimed that the rubella portion of the MMR vaccine is the one which is instrumental in protecting individuals from serious symptoms of COVID 19. However, there are certain restrictions in the administration of MMR to individuals according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In case the victim is pregnant or immunocompetent, doctors advise not to administer the MMR vaccine. Adults, on the other hand, who had received the vaccine in childhood still possess the antibody titers but not the shorter-lived trained leukocytes that are your fundamental saviours. So, MMR vaccination has been highly recommended in high-risk adults(frontline workers) and people who had never received the vaccine.
Evidence in support of the efficacy of MMR vaccine
"It was recently reported that the milder symptoms seen in the 955 sailors on the U.S.S. Roosevelt who tested positive for COVID-19 (only one hospitalization) may have been a consequence of the fact that MMR vaccinations are given to all U.S. Navy recruits", claims another journal in the American Society of Microbiology. Furthermore, children have been known to be less susceptible to Coronavirus led diseases like SARS and MERS and now COVID 19. A plausible cause behind this might be their more recent and more frequent exposures to live attenuated vaccines (MMR, rotavirus, smallpox, chickenpox, BCG).
Like the United States are conducting innumerable clinical trials to test the efficiency of MMR, countries like India are conducting similar research to assess the competency of Bacille Calmette-Guerin(BCG) vaccine in regulating COVID 19. We are all indeed having a devil of time but scientists all around the world are moving heaven and earth to bring any sort of remedy that might be effective in ameliorating the deadly situation. Till then we must be hopeful that we shall come out of this, as fit as a fiddle.