Tags: Coronavirus | vaccine | polio | opv | resistance | immunity

Could an Old Polio Vaccine Conquer the Current Coronavirus?

woman in a white face mask, goggles and blue uniform holds a tube wearing gloves
An employee works at the Stabilitech laboratory in England on May 15, 2020, where scientists are trying to develop an oral vaccine for COVID-19. (Ben Stansall/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 12 June 2020 02:36 PM

Scientists are scrambling to develop an effective new vaccine that can control the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus. But several top experts say that there is a strong possibility that an existing, tried-and-true polio vaccine can be used now.

Drs. Robert Gallo and Konstantin Chumakov, of the Global Virus Network, said that OPV, the oral poliovirus vaccine, may not only protect people against the coronavirus but also make them resistant to future infections.

According to CNN, OPV is safe, cheap, easy to use and widely available. It uses a weakened or attenuated version of the polio virus and produces a strong and long-lasting immune response. OPV has nearly wiped out polio globally and although it is no longer used in the United States in favor of the drug IPV, which uses an inactivated version of the polio virus, it is still used in over 140 countries.

Chumakov, who is also with the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine division, and Gallo, of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said that they believe OPV could provide temporary protection against the coronavirus and reduce the spread of disease. They said that both the poliovirus and the coronavirus are positive-strand RNA viruses, so it would make sense to at least test it.

“Other live attenuated viral vaccines, such as those against measles and smallpox, have also been associated with pronounced nonspecific effects against infectious diseases,” they said, according to CNN.

The physicians wrote an article for USA Today in which they said OPV activates protective systems in the body, including an innate immune system, to make people more resistant to infectious diseases caused by other viruses and bacteria.

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Scientists are scrambling to develop an effective new vaccine that can control the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus. But several top experts say that there is a strong possibility that an existing, tried-and-true polio vaccine can be used now. Drs. Robert Gallo and...
vaccine, polio, opv, resistance, immunity
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2020-36-12
Friday, 12 June 2020 02:36 PM
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