Could existing polio vaccines be used to fight coronavirus?
Researchers—including Robert Gallo, who helped discover HIV—are seeking funding to test their theory, making their case in Science this week.
They argue that live attenuated vaccines can trigger “interferon and other innate immunity mechanisms” to provide protection against unrelated pathogens.
In theory, a live polio vaccine then could possibly buy the body time to develop the right antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, NBC reports.
There is promising precedent: a 1960s trial found that oral poliovirus vaccine given to adults slashed seasonal influenza deaths.
The protection would wear off, so this would only be a temporary solution while the world awaits a COVID-19-specific vaccine. But with 3 poliovirus vaccines available, using them back-to-back could potentially extend that protection. In theory.
Back to top