If you are thinking about getting a COVID-19 flu shot this year, there are more reasons for doing it now. There are chances that a live flu vaccine may protect a person against the coronavirus in some way. Director of the Human Virology Department of Maryland University, Robert Gallo, confirms the news. Virologist Mr. Gallo is also the chairperson of the Global Virus Network.
According to him, the most important thing here is to get the correct vaccine. Robert Gallo was a part of the scientist’s team that gets all the credit to identify HIV. In this case, he states that the correct vaccine to restrict COVID-19 will be effective only when it will consist of a live virus. The same is already weak before it goes into the live flu vaccine, so there is no chance of causing disease.
Learning about the presence of a live virus in the vaccine may sound scary to you. However, that is the most standard and safest way of creating vaccines. Moreover, you may already have the experience of taking vaccines containing live viruses before. For example, oral polio and the measles vaccine are a few that contain live viruses in them. Presently, with more research, scientists worldwide are getting more understanding that such vaccines are advantageous to the immune system.
How to create an effective live flu vaccine?
When scientists are trying to create appropriate strategies, there are quite a few things that they must keep in mind. In this case, they can pick any bacteria or a relevant component and see if it can trigger an individual’s immune response. If it works, scientists will destroy the actual pathogen and use the corpse to make the vaccine. The other way of doing it is to weaken the pathogen in the lab before using it elsewhere.
In the latter case, the component is called attenuated and live flu vaccine. Over a period, scientists report of something very peculiar about the live vaccines. It is that they are capable of protecting a person against the central disease. Moreover, it will protect against other infections, including respiratory issues too. Robert Gallo states that there is enough evidence to confirm this finding. The only weakness here is that there is less clarity regarding the protection longevity.
While some scientists believe that the protection will last for a few months, there is no guarantee here. For example, the bacilli Calmette-Guerin or BCG vaccine from cows for Tuberculosis is one such vaccine. When Swedish doctors first started using the BCG vaccine, it was a good surprise for them. They realized that the vaccine was capable of saving the lives of children. Plus, the children who got the vaccine had three times lower mortality rate from any other diseases compared to other children.
Benefits of the BCG vaccine
Starting from the 1970s, Western African doctors are also maintaining a similar report regarding both the live measles and the BCG vaccines. If you try to explain the concept more precisely, it is better to say that the vaccines help boost the immune system. As a result, it responds more swiftly to several types of pathogens. According to the latest news, a few doctors from the Netherlands put the BCG vaccine to test against a placebo. It is to determine whether the vaccine is capable of fighting against a weaker form of yellow fever.
What was the conclusion here? Well, the people who underwent the vaccination came out with better immunity. They could successfully clear out the virus than others who did not go through the vaccination process. Moreover, the same case of multiple advantages is not just applicable to the BCG vaccine. Evidence suggests that the issue is the same for other live vaccines, such as oral polio, live flu, and measles.
All of them offer some non-specific and broad protection. According to Zhou Xing, an immunologist at the University of Ontario, it was hard for scientists to believe the whole theory. The primary reason for disbelief is that it is not the usual pattern of functioning for vaccines. Generally, vaccines have a typical way of tricking the human system for the production of antibodies. In this case, the molecules are super-specific. They will focus and neutralize only the target infection.
What is the work of live vaccines?
It is essential to mention that live vaccines are capable of functioning through antibodies. However, they have other functions to perform, as well. They are the superchargers of the front-line defenders of the human bodies. Who are the front-line defenders? They are the first components that can recognize invaders and control the situation before the infection increases.
Scientists specifically believe that live vaccines genetically reboot immune cells present in the bone marrow. The name of these cells is ‘myeloid cells.’ the difference between these and antibodies is that the former are non-specific. It means that myeloid cells work on several pathogens simultaneously. Besides, the effect of the myeloid cells is faster than antibodies when a virus enters the body. Presently, the biggest question is whether or not live flu vaccines can eradicate coronavirus from the body before they cause harm to it?
Let’s find an answer.
To find the answer to the question mentioned above, scientists worldwide are relentlessly working with live polio and BCG vaccines. It is to find out if either or both of these vaccines are capable of working against COVID-19. According to Dr. Morshe Arditi, trial chief at Cedars Sinai, LA, no one is yet ready to believe that any of the two vaccines will be perfectly efficient and long-lasting. According to Dr. Arditi, the best way of dealing with coronavirus is to find a vaccine that can target only this virus.
On the contrary, Dr. Arditi also says that the BCG vaccine possesses specific advantages, and it is cheap. A dose of the BCG vaccine comes only at a few dollars, and it is safe too. So, BCG can get approval, and it will be available by the next year also. This year, the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to launch in the market in two different ways. One will be a nasal spray and the other a shot.