Children have low Covid-19 rates because they are protected by the MMR jab, study claims (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Children might have a low rate of Covid infection because they are protected by the MMR jab, scientists say.

The controversial measles, mumps and rubella jab could protect against the virus according to new research.

The findings suggest the MMR vaccine could prevent people from catching Covid, help stop the spread of the virus and lower its severity.

It may explain why there are far less Covid cases among children and a lower death rate compared with adults.

Scientists are now reassuring that the MMR jab is a safe vaccine which has the "ultimate benefit" of preventing against Covid.

They suggest maximum protection could be achieved via two vaccinations at least 28 days apart, and that all over 40s should be considered for the vaccine.

Study co-author Professor David Hurley, of the University of Georgia, USA, said: "The MMR II vaccine is considered a safe vaccine with very few side effects.

The MMR vaccine could prevent people from catching Covid, help stop the spread of the virus and lower its severity
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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"If it has the ultimate benefit of preventing infection from Covid 19, preventing the spread of Covid 19, reducing the severity of it, or a combination of any or all of those, it is a very high reward low risk ratio intervention.

"Maximum seropositivity is achieved through two vaccinations at least 28 days apart.

"Based upon our study, it would be prudent to vaccinate those over 40 regardless of whether or not they already have high serum MMR titers (a measurement of antibodies in blood)."

The MMR vaccine has been theorised to protect against Covid 19.

Researchers provided further proof of this by showing links between MMR vaccine antibodies and how severely people are affected by Covid 19.

They found Covid patients who had received the MMR II vaccine before contracting coronavirus tended to be less badly hit by the disease.

Children have low rates of Covid-19
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The vaccine, produced by Merck MMR II, contains the Edmonston strain of measles, the Jeryl Lynn (B-level) strain of mumps, and the Wistar RA 27/3 strain of rubella.

Lead study author Jeffrey Gold, president of World Organisation in Georgia, USA, said: "We found a statistically significant inverse correlation between mumps titer levels and Covid 19 severity in people under age 42 who have had MMR II vaccinations.

"This adds to other associations demonstrating that the MMR vaccine may be protective against COVID-19.

"It also may explain why children have a much lower Covid 19 case rate than adults, as well as a much lower death rate.

"The majority of children get their first MMR vaccination around 12 to 15 months of age and a second one from four to six years of age."

In the study, researchers divided 80 people into two groups.

The MMR II group consisted of 50 US born citizens who would primarily have MMR antibodies from the MMR II vaccine.

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A comparison group of 30 people had no record of MMR II vaccinations, and would primarily have MMR antibodies from other sources, including prior measles, mumps, and/or rubella illnesses.

The researchers found a significant inverse correlation between mumps titers and Covid 19 severity within the MMR II group.

There were no significant links between mumps titers and disease severity in the comparison group, between mumps titers and age in the MMR II group, or between severity and measles or rubella titers in either group.

Prof Hurley added: "This is the first immunological study to evaluate the relationship between the MMR II vaccine and Covid 19.

"The statistically significant inverse correlation between mumps titers and COVID-19 indicates that there is a relationship involved that warrants further investigation,"

The findings were published in the journal mBio.