A Pune study by researchers from BJ Medical College here has found early evidence showing measles-containing vaccines (MCVs) might give children some defense against the SARS-CoV-2 infection. The BJ Medical College research was published in the peer-reviewed international journal, Human Vaccines, and Immunotherapeutics, this month. The case-control study analysed 548 participants, between the ages of 1 to 17, who were categorized into two groups. Those who have tested positive for Covid (via RT-PCR) and those who have not. Researchers discovered the MCVs had vaccine effectiveness of 87.5% against SARS-CoV-2 and that vaccinated participants had less severe Covid symptoms than the non-vaccinated.
The Pune findings support a much-discussed hypothesis that kids are fairly protected against SARS-CoV-2 owing to “non-specific immunity” following inoculation with live attenuated vaccines, including MCVs and the Bacillus Calmette- Guérin (BCG) shot. The measles vaccine has been part of India’s universal immunization programme for the last 36 years.
The researchers said although their findings are encouraging, larger trials would be needed before a definitive conclusion, about the protection offered by MCVs against SARS-CoV-2 infection, can be made.
The study’s lead investigator Paediatrician Nilesh Gujar, said “The results of our study indicate that MVCs can be effective against SARS-CoV-2 infection in the paediatric population. This finding, however, needs to be confirmed further through prospective randomized clinical trials.”