‘Flatten the Curve’ – Flu and Measles Vaccines Can Help Fight COVID-19

Evidence suggests that the generalized immune-enhancing properties of many vaccines can protect patients from multiple pathogens.

While the world celebrated the arrival of highly effective vaccines against COVID-19New work by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Oxford university He explains that even unrelated vaccines can help reduce the burden of the epidemic. The study, published January 10, 2022, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, crystallizes decades of evidence suggesting that the immune-boosting properties of many vaccines can protect patients from multiple pathogens.

Before vaccines for COVID-19 became available, several public health experts and immunologists suggested immunizing at-risk populations with other vaccines to provide some degree of protection.

Dr. Nathaniel Hubert, associate professor of population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine, said lead author on the new paper. However, it was not clear to what extent such an intervention would help, which populations it would be best to target or how many populations would have to receive unrelated vaccines in order to have a beneficial effect.

To answer these questions, Dr. Hubert and lead author Dr. Douglas Nixon, MD, Professor of Immunology in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine, and colleagues from Weill Cornell Medicine and Oxford University used the International Modeling Consortium (CoMo) COVID-19 system, a platform for modeling The computer is sophisticated that they built in response to the pandemic. “If you have a model that can be customized to a specific place and time in the context of the outbreak, you can start to try different conditions for the immunity of the population and see how things might go,” said Dr. Hubert.

Using the 2020-21 winter COVID-19 wave that hit the United States after the holiday season reopened, researchers model the potential effects of a non-COVID-19 vaccine intervention at different times and targeting different populations. While they did not specify specific vaccines, the researchers chose cross-protection values ​​that are consistent with data from previous studies on measles, influenza, tuberculosis and other immunizations. They found that an unrelated vaccine that offered only 5 percent protection from dangerous COVID-19, and was delivered to only a small portion of the population, would have caused a significant reduction in the number of cases and hospital use.

“It’s surprising that we found two really interesting emerging findings from what we put into the mix,” said Dr. Hubert. While the severity of COVID-19 is closely related to age, an experimental scenario that modeled vaccination for everyone over the age of 20 was more effective than strategies targeting only the elderly. This may be because young people tend to have more social contacts across age groups, which makes them more likely to spread the virus to more vulnerable populations. The timing of vaccinations was also important, with delivery during the rising phase of the infection wave having the greatest impact.

Dr. Nixon said: “This modeling study demonstrates the potential power of all vaccines in keeping the immune system ready and healthy, and reinforces everyone’s need to keep their vaccination history up to date, particularly during a pandemic.”

Dr Hubert sees the new findings as a “double win,” suggesting that even countries that have difficulty distributing enough vaccines for COVID-19 can interfere with routine immunizations against other pathogens, in addition to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as face masks. It could mitigate ongoing waves of COVID-19 while also preventing other diseases.

And as variables evaded by the vaccine from SARS-CoV-2 A virus like Omicron is sweeping the world, notes that “every additional precautionary measure we can muster across vulnerable populations – even those as small as the ones we’ve categorized – will result in fewer infections, which means fewer new variants, which could mean a faster end to the pandemic.” “.

Reference: “Heterogeneous vaccination interventions to reduce epidemic morbidity and mortality: modeling the COVID-19 wave in the United States in winter 2020” by Nathaniel Hubert, Daniela Marin-Hernandez, Pu Zhao, Ricardo Oguas, and Douglas F. Nixon, January 10, 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2025448119

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