An old vaccine may help against coronavirus

The innate immune system is the body’s first line of defense. Recent studies using one of innate immunity’s main components, interferon, have shown positive results in dampening the coronavirus and controlling the body’s inflammatory response.

We suggest the Sabin Oral Polio Vaccine, or OPV, as an ideal way to stimulate native emergency immune response to Covid while work on a targeted vaccine continues. OPV has a 70-year track record in protecting against polio, and almost 50 years ago Russian virologists discovered that it is also protective against other viruses. It reduced influenza by 3.8-fold—better than specific influenza vaccines. Other vaccines, including one for measles, can do the same.

We propose OPV because of its availability, simplicity (a tablet), very low cost and decades long safety record. No toxicity has been observed in populations already vaccinated against polio. Even in an unvaccinated population, side effects are rare. Billions of people have received OPV, including nearly everyone in the U.S. between 1962 and 2000.