Measles vaccine may protect children against COVID-19: Study

Amid fear over the third wave of COVID-19 which is predicted to affect the children, a study conducted by researchers in Pune has found that kids inoculated with measles vaccine had milder symptoms upon contracting the COVID-19 than those not vaccinated.

The study which shows positive results have been conducted by BJ Medical College in Pune as i showed that measles vaccine had an effectiveness of 87.5 per cent against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics, also said that measles vaccine might offer long-term protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection in children. The researchers behind the study called for more trails to confirm their findings.

Dr Nilesh Gujar, a paediatrician by profession and study's lead investigator, "This is the world's first such study. We focused on MMR vaccines for the study since the amino acid sequence of SARS-CoV-2 is nearly 30 per cent similar to that of rubella virus. The spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 is also similar to the hemagglutinin protein of the Measles virus. That is why we did the study and the results are promising."

He also said the MMR vaccine may also help prevent cytokine storms in children affected with Covid-19. Cytokine storm is when the body starts to attack its own cells and tissues rather than just fighting off the virus.

The doctor suggested that the MMR vaccine will give heterogenous protection to kids till a Covid-19 vaccine is made available. "Those who have not been fully vaccinated or received a single dose must get inoculated so that they are protected against measles and also might get some protection against Covid-19," he added.

The study was conducted on 548 children between the age of 1 to 17. They were split into two groups -- those who had tested positive for Covid-19 through RT-PCR tests and those who were not.

All participants in the study had received Oral Polio Virus (OPV) and all except one had received Bacillus CalmetteGuerin vaccines.

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