Can the flu vaccine help fight COVID-19?

Can the flu vaccine help fight COVID-19?
(Source: KSWO)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The man who helped discover the AIDS virus believes getting the flu vaccine may provide you protection against COVID-19.

Dr. Robert Gallo of the Globa Virus Network spoke about the possibility earlier this week.

But Dr. Michael Saag with UAB’s Infectious Diseases division says it’s currently nothing more than a hypothesis.

Basically, Dr. Gallo said the flu vaccine can stimulate your immune system to fight the flu. But he also said it could stimulate the immune system to fight against the coronavirus, especially if you take a live strain of the flu virus as part of the vaccine.

The nasal spray uses the live strain of the virus. Scientists say this is safe and it won’t cause the flu. The measles and polio vaccines also use live strains of those viruses.

Dr. Saag says it hasn’t been proven at this point and further tests are needed.

“I’ve worked with Dr. Gallo for 30 years. I know him well. He likes to be provocative in his comments and he is very smart, but he is going to throw his comments out there to stimulate discussion. Sometimes he is spot on and sometimes the data comes in and shows it didn’t exactly wort out that way,” said Dr. Saag.

In the report, Dr. Gallo said the protection may be short lived and last only for months.

Tests are also underway to see if the tuberculosis or polio vaccine could work against the coronavirus.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.