An international trial investigating whether the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot can protect front-line health-care workers from Sars-Cov-2 will launch in South Africa soon according to Business Day.

Sars-Cov-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. The trial is a combined effort between Univerisy of Witwatersrand, Washington University and University College London.

According to News24, approximately 30 000 healthcare workers will take part from around the world, including the UK, US, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Sub-Saharan Africa will enroll 5 000 voluntary participants. From this, 2500 people will be given the MMR shot and the other half will be given a placebo.

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority will need to give the green light for the trial. After this, the 5000 volunteers will be registered.

The trial was granted $9-million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It will also receive a R1-million offering from the South African Medical Research Council.

More than 170 potential COVID-19 vaccines are being developed worldwide, but only nine are in late-stage Phase 3 efficacy trials, and none has yet been approved by regulators, says the World Health Organisation. Researchers are thus also investigating whether tried-and-tested vaccines that provide protection from diseases as diverse as polio, tuberculosis and measles might provide a stopgap measure against COVID-19.

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