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Oral Polio Vaccines Might Protect Against New Coronavirus: Experts

FRIDAY, June 12, 2020 (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, experts say.

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, Dr. Robert Gallo, and colleagues wrote in Science magazine, CNN reported.

Chumakov is associate director for research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine division, and Gallo, of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland, co-discovered HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

“We propose the use of OPV [oral poliovirus vaccine] to ameliorate or prevent COVID-19,” they wrote. “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.”

They noted 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, CNN reported.

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