Scientists are hopeful that the polio vaccine could provide temporary immunity against COVID-19 pending the discovery of a unique coronavirus vaccine. Although some other scientists are skeptical of the proposal, proponents believe the human body could be triggered with a polio vaccine to be in a defensive combat mode in case of a COVID-19 infection, NBC News reported.
To lend support to the possibility of using oral poliovirus vaccine to provide temporary immunity against coronavirus, researchers in Australia, the Netherlands, and Israel are exploring the effectiveness of using the tuberculosis vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not support the use of TB vaccine for immunity against coronavirus but that has not stopped researchers from investigating.
Dr. Robert Gallo, one of the scientists who discovered HIV/AIDS, is leading other researchers to see how polio vaccines could be used to jumpstart the immune system into fighting against COVID-19. Although oral polio vaccine is not available or licensed for use in the United States since 2000 because the disease was eradicated in 1979, the vaccine is available in other countries where it used to fight the spread of polio – an acute viral disease marked by inflammation of nerve cells of the brain stem and spinal cord.
In a study published in the journal Science, Gallo, and other researchers from the Baltimore-based Global Virus Network, I believe the polio vaccine might work and seek approval and funding to commence clinical trials to see if their hypothesis would work. The team seeks to use a live polio vaccine which is a weakened form of the actual live poliovirus in people.
One of the leaders of Global Virus Network, Dr. Konstantin Chumakov, said a live vaccine can trigger the immune system to develop specific antibodies that ward off lethal invaders. Chumakov is the associate director of research at the FDA’s Office of Vaccines whose mother also conducted research into viruses in the 1960s in Russia.
Gallo and Chumakov stated that the oral poliovirus vaccine can potentially trigger the body to fight for itself on a temporary basis until research agencies develop a permanent COVID-19 vaccine. They noted that any vaccine that could slow a new viral outbreak from spreading is important at the initial stages until a permanent vaccine is developed to protect against the pandemic.
They added that clinical trials would validate their hypothesis and must be conducted to be certain.
“This pandemic will go, but there will be another one,” Chumakov said. “We will continue to get new and emerging diseases, and there will always be this dilemma of what we do in the interim before we can develop a specific vaccine. This is much bigger than just stopping COVID-19.”