MMR vaccine could protect against the worst symptoms of COVI
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Administering the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine could serve as a preventive measure to dampen septic inflammation associated with COVID-19 infection, say a team of experts in this week's mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Vaccination with MMR in immunocompetent individuals has no contraindications and may be especially effective for health care workers who can easily be exposed to COVID-19, say the researchers.

Mounting evidence demonstrates that live attenuated vaccines provide nonspecific protection against lethal infections unrelated to the target pathogen of the vaccine by inducing trained nonspecific innate immune cells for improved host responses against subsequent infections. Live attenuated vaccines induce nonspecific effects representing "trained innate immunity" by training leukocyte (immune system cells) precursors in the bone marrow to function more effectively against broader infectious insults.

Recent events provide support for the researchers' hypothesis. 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 the MMR vaccinations are given to all U.S. Navy recruits.

In addition, epidemiological data suggest a correlation between people in geographical locations who routinely receive the MMR vaccine and reduced COVID-19 death rates. COVID-19 has not had a big impact on children, and the researchers hypothesize that one reason children are protected against viral infections that induce sepsis is their more recent and more frequent exposures to live attenuated vaccines that can also induce the trained suppressive MDSCs that limit inflammation and sepsis.

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