Oral Polio Vaccines Might Protect Against New Coronavirus

Since poliovirus and coronavirus are positive-strand RNA viruses, they may induce common innate immunity mechanisms.

HealthDay News – Oral polio vaccines might provide temporary protection against the new coronavirus while scientists try to develop a vaccine to fight COVID-19 infection, according to a perspective piece published in the June 12 issue of Science.

Evidence suggests that inoculations such as polio vaccines protect children against a number of infections, so it makes sense to test if polio vaccines can ward off the new coronavirus, Konstantin Chumakov, PhD, Robert Gallo, MD, and colleagues write. Chumakov is associate director for research in the US Food and Drug Administration vaccine division, and Gallo, of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland, co-discovered HIV.

“We propose the use of oral poliovirus vaccine to ameliorate or prevent COVID-19,” the authors write. “Both poliovirus and coronavirus are positive-strand RNA viruses; therefore, it is likely that they may induce and be affected by common innate immunity mechanisms.”

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The authors note that oral polio vaccines are safe, cheap, easy to administer, and widely available, with more than 1 billion doses made and used each year in more than 140 countries.

Abstract/Full Text