These old vaccines can fight COVID-19 pandemic, study finds

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In a recent study published in PNAS, researchers found that inoculation with live attenuated vaccines (LAV) such as those used against TB, polio or measles can stimulate the immune system to provide protection against other infectious diseases, including COVID-19

People who have been inoculated with one or more LAVs but have no access to the new, specific vaccines against COVID-19—typically because they are expensive or in short supply—may have some protection during the current pandemic.

LAVs use a weakened (or attenuated) form of the pathogen or germ that causes a disease.

These vaccines are similar to the natural infection they help prevent, and create a strong and long-lasting immune response, often over a lifetime, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the team, older live attenuated vaccines could also afford protection from other emerging viruses.

The study is from Washington University in St. Louis and elsewhere. One author is Robert Gallo.

Attenuated viruses or other pathogens will grow in a vaccinated person, and stimulate an immune response, but are too weak to cause disease.

The team says it is important to bring up this topic now to raise awareness of the entire field. There is no disadvantage to LAVs, or broad vaccines, as they only last a few months.

But there is a great chance of saving many lives. LAVs are inexpensive, readily available, and not harmful.

The team of scientists helped discover the HIV virus, and they showed as far back as 1972 that LAVs can play a role in limiting an epidemic or pandemic.

They believe that in the future, many people who face a new epidemic or pandemic for which there is no vaccine or therapy will benefit from the research.

This also could be the case if current vaccines are not effective with any new SARS-CoV-2 variants, stressing that LAVs do not interfere with specific vaccines for a disease but are likely to improve response to those vaccines.

If you care about COVID-19 vaccines, please read studies about many Americans take immune-weakening drugs that may lower COVID vaccine response and findings of new inhaled COVID-19 vaccine may prevent disease and transmission.

For more information about COVID and your health, please see recent studies about scientists develop new vaccine to block COVID-19 and variants and results showing that why second dose of COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be skipped.

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