* I see little chance of myself being vaccinated anytime soon, considering my age and the international shortage, etc. But a very informed pal of mine has been sending me some studies and articles lately that piqued my interest. The first thing he sent me was a small study from the American Society for Microbiology…
The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has been theorized to provide protection against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Our aim was to determine whether any MMR IgG titers are inversely correlated with severity in recovered COVID-19 patients previously vaccinated with MMR II. […]
Hence, while our study provided clear evidence linking mumps seropositivity to COVID-19 severity, we do not dismiss the possibility that there are links between measles or rubella seropositivity that have not yet been identified. […]
While the associations that we have observed between MMR II and COVID-19 do not prove causation, the significant associations lend further support to the theory that the MMR II vaccine may provide long-term, cross-protective immunity against COVID-19.
* Some news coverage…
One notable example of the difference in death rates and MMR vaccination efforts in Venezuela. The country recently gained control of a large measles outbreak through a country-wide vaccination campaign geared toward nine million children between 6 months to 15 years.3
Gold says that delivering 13 million doses of the MMR vaccine was unmatched with vaccination efforts in neighboring countries such as Colombia and Brazil. By 2019, Venezuela had reduced the number of deaths by 91%—reporting only 548 cases and three deaths.
Gold noticed that increased MMR vaccination appeared to be associated with decreased COVID-19 deaths. “Venezuela has had only 39 deaths per million from COVID-19,” he says. “On the other hand, its immediate neighbors Colombia and Brazil have each had 957 deaths per million and 986 deaths per million respectively.”
The US deaths per million is 1,366. Venezuela has more than twice the population of Illinois and just 1,209 deaths. Illinois has reported 19,444 deaths. But, Venezuela is a bizarre country, so I’m not sure I trust its numbers. Still, if that’s even close to accurate, it’s worth a look.
* Many have noted that children don’t seem to suffer from the COVID virus nearly as much as adults. The theory is the MMR vaccine might possibly play a role in this, since most kids get that shot…
In March 2020, Jeffrey E. Gold, a data analyst, thought it was interesting that children were relatively spared from severe COVID-19 disease. He wondered whether a specific intervention, like vaccination, protected them, whereas the COVID-19 death rate climbs quickly for people over the age of 50. CDC statistics reveal 97% of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in those aged 45 and older. The timing of one vaccine in particular, the MMR vaccine — against measles, mumps, and rubella — seemed to best fit the bill. First introduced in 1971, most recipients fall into the under 50 age group.
Looking deeper, Gold found that a number of countries with low COVID-19 death rates had conducted large-scale measles-rubella vaccination campaigns over the last few years. For instance, physicians in American Samoa vaccinated nearly 90% of the population with MMR, including children and adults, during a widespread measles outbreak in September 2019. American Samoa has seen just 3 cases of COVID-19 — all contracted outside the country — and no deaths from the virus. As a comparison, COVID-19 penetration seemed far more extensive in countries with lower MMR vaccination rates, like Italy. Due to public mistrust in vaccines, following the publication of Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent research linking the MMR vaccine and autism in 1998, Italy’s measles vaccine coverage was one of the lowest in Europe.
It’s important to note these associations might just be coincidental.
But then there is this. Like SARS-CoV-2, measles, mumps and rubella viruses are also RNA viruses with spike proteins. The spike proteins on the measles, mumps and rubella viruses share 30% of their protein structure with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The reason I am telling you this is because the degree of similarity might cause the body to “think” COVID-19 is related to measles, mumps, or rubella virus and therefore, fight it pre-emptively.
* So, should adults get the MMR shot?…
The study’s findings fall short of recommending adult booster shots. Gold stresses that more clinical trials need to be completed and show successful results. There is currently a clinical trial to see if the MMR vaccine can prevent COVID-19 in 30,000 healthcare workers who are at high risk of repeated exposure to the virus.
Jeffrey Gold is a data person, not a doctor. Just remember that.
* But here’s the Mayo Clinic…
“So, with that as our basis and understanding, we did a similar analysis here with our Mayo Clinic data. What we did is we compared the rates of test positivity for COVID between those who’ve had vaccines and those who haven’t had vaccines and stratified that according to vaccine type,” explained [Andrew Badley, the Chair of the Mayo Clinic COVID Research Task Force].
What they found was that specifically, the MMR vaccines–which protects against measles mumps and rubella, as well as the flu vaccine and several others–had a protective effect against getting COVID-19. As for further implications for what this research could mean when it comes to COVID-19, Badley said, “certainly there will be numerous studies looking at all of the things we’ve talked about in the future, including the immune response.”
Some further research on the MMR vaccine and COVID-19 has prompted hypotheses that the reason many children aren’t more susceptible to COVID-19 is because they’ve had their vaccines more recently than adults. The Mayo Clinic says there’s no definitive answer as to whether that’s true.
“Should you rush out and get extra vaccines? No, not at all. You should rush out and see your healthcare provider and update your health maintenance and if that means you are not updated on your flu or MMR, you should get it,” said Badley.
* National Center for Biotechnology Information…
After analyzing the results, we saw that there were no significant differences between the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection for any of the vaccines. However, we did find statistically significant differences with respect to the severity of COVID-19 and the MMR vaccination status (p = 0.013). The MMR vaccine has been administered on a mandatory basis to all Spanish children in the context of the national vaccination program since 1981. In our study, most of the physicians infected with SARS-CoV-2 who had received the MMR vaccine (67.92%) presented with mild symptoms of COVID-19. None of those who had to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 remembered having received the MMR vaccine or having been immunized against any of the viruses included in this vaccine. No significant differences were observed with respect to the severity of COVID-19 and the BCG and hepatitis B vaccination status (p = 0.608 and 0.911, respectively).
Some hypotheses link vaccination against MMR with an improved and faster innate immune response against COVID-19. This fact could explain the benign course of the disease in children and those under the age of 40 in our country. Other studies state that the MMR vaccine can induce neutralizing antibodies that cross-react with other viruses. Cases have been described in which patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 generate cross-neutralizing antibodies against MMR.
The most remarkable limitations of this study are the low number of critically ill patients included in it and the fact that other risk factors were not analyzed in a multivariant analysis, as this was not the purpose of our research. With the publication of these results, we aim to draw the attention of the health authorities and research centers with a view for them to promote studies that will allow to confirm the existence of an association between MMR vaccination and a lesser severity of COVID-19. Until a safe and effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is developed, we believe that it is justifiable to promote new studies and clinical trials that might clarify the role of trained immunity with other vaccines in the mitigation of the severity of COVID-19 and of foreseeable future pandemics caused by other coronaviruses.
* However, unlike a lot of the crazy treatments touted by COVID conspiracy theorists, the CDC says MMR revaccination is not unsafe…
However, if revaccination is requested, there is no immunologic or safety reason to deny the request.
And back to that study from the top of the post, here’s coauthor David J. Hurley, PhD, professor and molecular microbiologist at the University of Georgia…
“The MMR II vaccine is considered a safe vaccine with very few side effects. If it has the ultimate benefit of preventing infection from COVID-19, preventing the spread of COVID-19, reducing the severity of it, or a combination of any or all of those, it is a very high reward low risk ratio intervention. Maximum seropositivity is achieved through two vaccinations at least 28 days apart. Based upon our study, it would be prudent to vaccinate those over 40 regardless of whether or not they already have high serum MMR titers.”
Maybe, or maybe not, but what the heck. I called Walgreens yesterday and was told by the pharmacist that I can just walk right in and get an MMR vaccine without an appointment. It won’t hurt me, and if I do get the shot I’m not going to change my life or anything. It’ll just be an added precaution while I wait for the real thing.