Adults line up for MMR jab to beat Covid, docs sound alert | India News

MUMBAI: Many adults are queuing to get booster shots amid discussions around the potency of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to prevent an acute Covid-19 infection and a proposed clinical trial in the US. While the jury is still out on whether MMR vaccine can really prevent Covid-19 or at least soften the attack, doctors caution against its mass use without further research.
MMR is given to infants at nine months of age, which is also one of the reasons why some medical experts believe children are protected from Covid-19. Before MMR, there were theories about the protection that anti-TB vaccine Bacillus Calmette–Guérin
(BCG) possibly offered. Multiple clinical trials world over are looking at the BCG-Covid connection, including a trial in Maharashtra where BCG is being studied as a treatment for Covid. Dr Hemant Gupta, professor of medicine at Grant Medical College (JJ Hospital) said he has taken the MMR vaccine himself and administered to his family members too.
“Studies have shown that the Rubella virus has around 30% structural similarity with the Sars-Cov2 and hence the belief that the vaccine could offer some protection,” said the doctor, who has taken two doses. The vaccine costs between Rs 200 and Rs 600. Dahisar-based paediatrician Dr Arvind Srivastava said he took it despite knowing that its efficacy was only a presumption.
In an article published in the American Society for Microbiology two weeks ago, two US-based researchers speculated that vaccination with MMR in healthy individuals has no contraindications and may be even effective, and on this basis have proposed a clinical trial for healthcare workers. Dr Shashank Joshi, dean of the Association of the Physicians of India, said that live attenuated vaccines are known to train the body’s immune response and help one fight better.
“However, without research, it will be difficult to say how far MMR vaccine can help to prevent Covid. People shouldn’t start taking it en masse,” he said. Dr Hemant Thacker, too, expressed scepticism and said he has received several enquiries, but has not advised it so far. “There is no evidence of this vaccine to prevent or treat Covid so far,” he said.

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