• COVID-19 Infection Among Women in Iran Exposed vs Unexposed to Children Who Received Attenuated Poliovirus Used in Oral Polio Vaccine

      Habibzadeh, Farrokh; Sajadi, Mohammad M; Chumakov, Konstantin; Yadollahie, Mahboobeh; Kottilil, Shyamasundaran; Simi, Ashraf; Stafford, Kristen; Saeidimehr, Saeid; Rafiei, Mohammad; Gallo, Robert C (American Medical Association, 2021-11-24)
      Importance: Live attenuated vaccines may provide short-term protection against infectious diseases through stimulation of the innate immune system. Objective: To evaluate whether passive exposure to live attenuated poliovirus is associated with diminished symptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2. Design, setting, and participants: In a longitudinal cohort study involving 87 923 people conducted between March 20 and December 20, 2020, the incidence of COVID-19 was compared between 2 groups of aged-matched women with and without exposure to live attenuated poliovirus in the oral polio vaccine (OPV). Participants were people receiving health care services from the Petroleum Industry Health Organization and residing in 2 cities in Iran (ie, Ahwaz and Shiraz). Participants were women aged 18 to 48 years whose children were aged 18 months or younger and a group of age-matched women from the same residence who had had no potential exposure to OPV. Exposures: Indirect exposure to live attenuated poliovirus in OPV. Main outcomes and measures: Symptomatic COVID-19, diagnosed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Results: After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 419 mothers (mean [SD] age, 35.5 [4.9] years) indirectly exposed to the OPV and 3771 age-matched women (mean [SD] age, 35.7 [5.3] years) who had no exposure to OPV were available for analysis. COVID-19 was diagnosed in 1319 of the 87 923 individuals in the study population (151 per 10 000 population) during the study period. None of the mothers whose children received OPV developed COVID-19 after a median follow-up of 141 days (IQR, 92-188 days; range, 1-270 days); 28 women (0.74%; 95% CI, 0.47%-1.02%) in the unexposed group were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the 9 months of the study. Point-by-point comparison of the survival curves of the exposed and unexposed groups found that indirect exposure to OPV was significantly associated with decreased COVID-19 acquisition; probability of remaining without infection was 1.000 (95% CI, 1.000-1.000) in the exposed group vs 0.993 (95% CI, 0.990-0.995) in the unexposed group after 9 months (P < .001). Conclusions and relevance: In this cohort study, indirect exposure to live attenuated poliovirus was associated with decreased symptomatic infection with COVID-19. Further study of the potential protective effect of OPV should be conducted, especially in nations where OPV is already in use for polio prevention and specific COVID-19 vaccines are delayed, less affordable, or fail to meet demand.