Vaccines

Old Vaccines May Stop the Coronavirus, Study Hints. Scientists Are Skeptical.

Billions of dollars are being invested in the development of vaccines against the coronavirus. Until one arrives, many scientists have turned to tried-and-true vaccines to see whether they may confer broad protection, and may reduce the risk of coronavirus infection, as well.

Old standbys like the Bacille Calmette-Guerin tuberculosis vaccine and the polio vaccine appear to help train the immune system to respond to a broad variety of infections, including from bacteria, viruses and parasites, experts say.

Now a study suggests that people who have received certain routine vaccines in the recent past — including childhood vaccinations like measles-mumps-rubella and polio, as well as adult flu vaccines — have lower coronavirus infection rates than those not recently vaccinated.

But many experts greeted the conclusions with skepticism. The paper, an analysis of electronic health records from the Mayo Clinic, was posted online; it has not been through the peer review process

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Nasal Coronavirus Vaccines May Work Better Than Injected Ones, Researchers Say

These mucosal immune responses seem to underlie the success of the oral polio vaccine, which contains a weakened form of polio virus and has helped most of the world eradicate polio. When it debuted in the 1960s, the vaccine was considered, in many ways, an enormous improvement over its injected predecessor because it targeted the body’s immune response in the gut, where the virus thrives. Many people who took the oral vaccine seemed to quash infections even before they felt symptoms — or passed the germ on to others.

“It was a fabulous vaccine to stop the transmission of polio,” said Dr. Anna Durbin, a vaccine expert at Johns Hopkins University. “It helped induce herd immunity,” she said, referring to the threshold of the population that needs to be immune to a pathogen to keep it from spreading.

Vaccines given through muscle are great for prompting the body

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Researchers Debate Infecting People With Coronavirus to Test Vaccines

They would be quarantined and monitored closely, and if they became ill would receive the best known treatment — possibly the antiviral drug remdesivir, or convalescent plasma from people who had recovered from the illness. But so far, remdesivir’s benefits have been described as “modest,” and studies of convalescent plasma are still underway. The steroid dexamethasone lowered the death rate in one study, but is recommended only for those who become severely ill.

The article by Dr. Eyal’s group struck a chord with Josh Morrison, 34. Eight years ago, he donated a kidney to a stranger, and now runs an advocacy group for kidney donors. The opportunity to save someone else’s life meant a great deal to him, and he sees challenge trials as a chance to do it again.

“If it could lead to a speedier creation of a vaccine for the disease Covid-19, we are willing — without

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Millions of Children Are at Risk for Measles as Coronavirus Fears Halt Vaccines

“There are virtually no registers for vaccinations in West Africa other than parent-held records,” she said, adding that an entire “birth cohort of infants could miss out on vaccinations altogether with serious consequences.”

Before the coronavirus pandemic, measles was already making a resurgence in some places. In 2017, there were 7,585,900 estimated measles cases and 124,000 estimated deaths, according to the World Health Organization. By 2018, the last year for which international figures have been compiled, there were 9,769,400 estimated measles cases and 142,300 related deaths.

In 2019, the United States reported 1,282 measles cases, its highest in more than 25 years. The measles vaccine has been available for more than 50 years.

Countries including Brazil, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Nigeria, Ukraine and Kazakhstan are currently fighting outbreaks of measles. Among the countries that have postponed their vaccination programs are Bolivia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Djibouti,

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