A vaccine that many already have could reduce 'severity and mortality' of COVID-19, new paper suggests

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- The Measles Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine may help protect people against COVID-19 symptoms. That's according to a new paper published in the American Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Ashford, a Stanford clinical professor affiliate, published an enticing paper in the American Journals of Medicine suggesting "the Measles (MMR) vaccine may mitigate COVID-19 spread and severity."

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"There could be a relationship between the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) and the occurrence of the COVID virus," said Dr. J Wesson Ashford, MD, PhD, Stanford Clinical Professor affiliate.

In his publication, Dr. Ashford points to countries in Asia and Africa having low COVID-19 cases

"The reason for this is that there were measles eradication efforts made in a specific countries where there were very few cases," explained Dr. Ashford.

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"What makes you think that the MMR vaccine may protect against COVID-19 symptoms?" asked ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena.

"So, when the antibodies are developed to the surface protein of the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), we think that may help the body to better manage the COVID 19 infection," Dr. Ashford said.

His publication also suggests those who recently got the MMR vaccine react differently to the coronavirus.

"Looked at any of the individuals who had COVID. Look at their symptoms or at least who've been exposed to it, and of the 50 individuals who were young and had an MMR vaccine, there were fewer symptoms in those who had a high Mumps type. That's what we found," said Dr. Ashford.

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Infectious disease specialist doctor Phil Grant says these findings are intriguing.

"It's a reasonable idea in that the immune system can get turned on by the MMR. By turning on the non-specific immune system it can protect us from other viruses, "said Dr. Phil Grant, Infectious Disease doctor at Stanford. Grant suggests more research is necessary.

Both doctors agree people should get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available, instead of relying on the MMR vaccine for protection from coronavirus.

"We think this is something that should be considered. I definitely don't want to say that people shouldn't get one of the vaccines when it comes out," said Dr. Ashford.

And if you're wondering, "what are the guidelines for the MMR vaccine?"

The CDC recommends that people get MMR vaccine to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella, according to their website. "Children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age."

Click here to read the paper.
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