September 10, 2020

Global trial to test whether MMR vaccine can protect HCWs against COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis is the clinical coordinating center for a new worldwide clinical trial to test whether the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) can protect frontline healthcare workers (HCWs) against COVID-19.

The researchers say there are two main reasons why the MMR vaccine, which has been administered safely to hundreds of millions of people around the world in the past 50 years, could broadly boost a person’s immunity and prevent infection from SARS-CoV-2:

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  • The MMR vaccine includes small amounts of live, weakened viruses that could strengthen and train the body’s immune system to fight multiple pathogens.
  • There are similarities between the weakened MMR viruses in the vaccine and the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The researchers say that because the MMR and SARS-CoV-2 viruses all have similar proteins on their surfaces, they believe the antibodies made in response to the MMR vaccine also may recognize and fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The researchers also will examine whether the MMR vaccine might reduce the severity of illness for HCWs who become infected with COVID-19.

The trial aims to enroll some 30,000 frontline HCWs globally.


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