COVID update: childhood jab may fight virus in adults
From the very start of the outbreak, records have continued to demonstrate the remarkably high levels of immunity to the virus found in children. Today, researchers at Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania are currently investigating this phenomenon. The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine - commonly known as the ‘MMR jab’ - is their main priority, according to a hypothesis released by the group on the 25th of June 2020.
According to the statement made by the team, recent clinical research has shown that the MMR vaccine can produce antibodies that may persist between 15 to 20 years. Clinical studies show that MMR antibodies have the potential to recognize and fight proteins found in the make-up of the coronavirus; meaning that vaccinated children may be protected from COVID-19 for up to 20 years. The researchers, however, do suggest that more clinical research needs to be done before this is even considered.
While the substance has been approved by the FDA for childhood vaccinations, the efficacy in adults is yet unknown - with its effect on the coronavirus only speculation. Nevertheless, over the next few months, we should expect to see phase 1 clinical trials starting to pop up across Europe and the US. As recent clinical studies into the vaccine candidate hydroxychloroquine were abandoned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last month, finding alternative solutions are a top priority for the research industry right now.
Yet, as 86% of clinical trials fail to meet recruitment targets every year, it is unclear as to when these future clinical trials will take place. Clinical recruitment for human trials under the current circumstances will be a challenge for MMR studies as pre-covid data suggests that patient recruitment was at an all time low. A recent study found that, on average, 48% of research sites under-enroll, with 15-20% of research sites failing to enroll a single patient. It’s clear that patient recruitment companies and clinical research recruiters will need to work together over the next year to ensure that these MMR clinical trials can run smoothly; but, of course, this is all subject to further initial investigation.
Further research, documented by the American Society for Microbiology, calls for clinical trials of the MMR vaccine, and encourages healthcare workers and care home staff to get the jab as soon as possible. Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Dr. Mairi Noverr, has recently been awarded a “Fast Grant” by George Mason University to trial the efficacy of the vaccine in a nonhuman primate model of the coronavirus. While no concrete evidence has been produced as of yet, these further developments outline the direction of future clinical trials that may produce a viable treatment for COVID-19.
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