Preprint Hypothesis Version 2 This version is not peer-reviewed

Why Infants Rarely Die of COVID-19 and Morbidity and Mortality Rates Vary by Location: Pneumococcal and Hib Vaccinations as Possible Means to Mitigate Future Pandemics

Version 1 : Received: 13 April 2020 / Approved: 15 April 2020 / Online: 15 April 2020 (09:15:26 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 6 May 2020 / Approved: 7 May 2020 / Online: 7 May 2020 (05:48:34 CEST)

How to cite: Root-Bernstein, R. Why Infants Rarely Die of COVID-19 and Morbidity and Mortality Rates Vary by Location: Pneumococcal and Hib Vaccinations as Possible Means to Mitigate Future Pandemics. Preprints 2020, 2020040233 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0233.v2). Root-Bernstein, R. Why Infants Rarely Die of COVID-19 and Morbidity and Mortality Rates Vary by Location: Pneumococcal and Hib Vaccinations as Possible Means to Mitigate Future Pandemics. Preprints 2020, 2020040233 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0233.v2).

Abstract

Two conundrums have puzzled COVID-19 investigators: 1) morbidity and mortality is rare among Infants and young children and 2) rates of morbidity and mortality exhibit very large variances across nations, locals and even within cities. These differences correlate with rates of Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) and pneumococcal vaccination, which are almost universal among infants and vary widely by geography among adults and the elderly. The higher the rate of vaccination, the lower the COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Vaccination rates with other vaccines, including BCG and poliovirus, do not correlate with COVID-19 risks. Notably, both Hib and pneumoccoci are common co-infections with influenza and coronaviruses and are associated with more severe disease and risk of death. Whether the vaccines simply protect against COVID-19 complications, directly protect against COVID-19 infection by inducing cross-reactive immunity, or are markers for some other types of protection such as availability of better healthcare, is not yet known. What is known is that improving coverage rates of Hib and pneumococcal vaccination has significantly lowered severe morbidity and mortality in influenza epidemics and might have similar efficacy for mitigating coronavirus outbreaks. If infants and children are valid indicators, the beneficial effects might be very significant. The possibility that anti-viral proteins in milk (e.g., lactoferrin) protect against COVID-19 is also explored.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Streptoccoci; Pneumococci; Haemophilus influenzae; Hib; Prevenar; vaccination; lactoferrin

Comments (3)

Comment 1
Received: 7 May 2020
Commenter: Robert Root-Bernstein
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: The number of countries analyzed for vaccination rates in relation to COVID-19 case and death rates has been increased; the data have been updated for COVID-19 case and death rates as of 1 May 2020; the possibility that milk (breastfeeding) is a factor protecting infants has been added as well as the possibility that milk-related anti-viral compounds such as lactoferrin protect against COVID-19; rates of lactose intolerance and per capita milk-product consumption have been added to the analysis; statistics have been updated to include the increased number of countries, updated data and milk-related factors.
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Response 1 to Comment 1
Received: 8 May 2020
Commenter: Henry Kuska
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Correction to my first comment. Please see: Title: "Liposomal Lactoferrin as Potential Preventative and Cure for Covid-19" http://ijrhs.org/article/2020/8/1/105530ijrhs813 Most of the other links appear "messed up". I can email them to you.
Comment 2
Received: 8 May 2020
Commenter: Robert Root-Bernstein
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Some very useful references here, especially the first one! Many thanks for bringing these to my attention!
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