‘Existing polio vaccine shows promise, could protect against Covid-19’: Study

While scientists and experts continue to bolster the effort to arrive at the much-awaited vaccine for Covid-19, some experts are looking at the potential of existing drugs and vaccines in fighting the virus.

A latest study published in the medical journal Science explains if existing live vaccines can help prevent Covid-19.

The study talks about oral polio vaccine (OPV) which comprises live attenuated viruses and can reduce the incidence of other infections.

“An increasing body of evidence suggests that live attenuated vaccines can also induce broader protection against unrelated pathogens likely by inducing interferon and other innate immunity mechanisms that are yet to be identified,” the study reads.

According to the researchers, the stimulation of innate immune system by live attenuated vaccines in general, and oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) in particular, “could provide temporary protection against coronavirus disease 2019”

The research also points to the efficacy of certain vaccines against tuberculosis and whooping cough in fighting infections.

“Attenuated bacterial vaccines such as Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) against tuberculosis, as well as experimental live attenuated vaccine against pertussis (whooping cough), were also shown to protect against heterologous infections,” it added.

Medical reports and scientific research suggest that Covid-19 may result in suppressed innate immune responses. Therefore, stimulation of innate immunity by live attenuated vaccines such as the OPV could increase resistance to infection by “the causal virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)”.

“If the results of randomized controlled trial (RCTs) with OPV are positive, OPV could be used to protect the most vulnerable populations,” the study concluded.

Covid-19 has infected over 7 million people worldwide while more than 4 lakh people have lost their lives across the globe.