World News – GB – BCG vaccine could help protect adults against Covid-19


A vaccine usually given to children to protect them against tuberculosis could help fight the coronavirus

The inexpensive and widely available Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is believed to boost immunity by « training » the immune system to fight other infections with greater intensity

Known as the BRACE trial, the vaccine will be given to 10,000 people worldwide

The University of Exeter is leading the UK side of the trial and is expected to recruit up to 2,000 community health workers, including staff from nursing homes and GP offices

While a positive result might not be the ultimate solution in the fight against coronavirus, it has the potential to protect frontline healthcare workers and ‘save crucial time’ until a vaccine more efficient be found

Professor John Campbell of the University of Exeter School of Medicine said the vaccine would be a game-changer on a global scale if it helped prevent people from getting sick from the virus and passing it on to others

« Covid-19 has killed over a million people worldwide, with over 33 million people contracting the disease, sometimes in its most severe forms, » ​​he said

« BCG has been shown to enhance immunity in a generalized way, which may offer some protection against Covid-19 »

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« If it [works], we could save lives by administering or supplementing this readily available and cost-effective vaccine, » he said

The study is coordinated by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and received more than US $ 10 million (£ 7 6 million) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund the project at scale world

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Participants will then be followed for next year to see if the vaccinated group reports fewer cases of the coronavirus and has less severe reactions to the virus

Volunteers will be selected from healthcare professionals working with high exposure to Covid-19 in the southwest who may attend clinics in Exeter

Professor Campbell said: « People on the frontlines of Covid-19, including healthcare workers and home workers, are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus infection

« The trial provides us with a great opportunity to offer potential help to this important group of people who provide health care to some of our most vulnerable citizens in important community settings

He added: « I would really encourage nursing home staff to join us, to help us find out if the BCG vaccine could be a safe, widely available and cost-effective way to reduce the risk of Covid- 19 « 

Routine BCG vaccinations were discontinued in the UK in 2005 due to low rates of tuberculosis in the general population

The vaccine continues to be given to more than 100 million babies worldwide to protect against bacterial infection, however

The news of the trial comes as England’s deputy chief medical officer warns the UK coronavirus pandemic has reached a ‘tipping point’, with an infection rate similar to what has been recorded when the country was placed on lockdown in March

UK is at tipping point and ‘must act now’ to control virus, deputy chief medical officer warns

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam has warned that more deaths will follow an increase in the number of cases in the coming weeks, citing cold weather as a particular trigger

Despite the warning, the health expert argued the UK could prevent history from repeating itself « if we all act now »

BCG vaccine

News from the world – GB – BCG vaccine could help protect adults against Covid-19


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