World News – GB – Coronavirus: BCG tuberculosis vaccine could help fight COVID-19


A tuberculosis (TB) vaccine given to more than 100 million babies each year could help adults fight the coronavirus, health experts said after trials showed it stimulates the immune system

Some 10,000 people in the UK will be recruited to determine whether the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine could help people fight the coronavirus until more effective vaccines are found

Australia, the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil participate in the program, the UK branch of which is led by the University of Exeter

Professor John Campbell, of the university’s medical school, said: « BCG has been shown to enhance immunity in a generalized way, which may offer some protection against COVID-19 »

Researchers are hoping, he said, to confirm whether the BCG vaccine could help protect those at risk of COVID-19

« If so, we could save lives by administering or supplementing this readily available and cost-effective vaccine, » he added

Anyone participating will either receive the BCG vaccine, which is currently given to more than 100 million babies worldwide each year to protect against tuberculosis, or an injection of a placebo

Routine BCG vaccination, which began in the UK in 1953, was stopped in 2005 due to low rates of tuberculosis in the general population

BCG has already been shown to reduce susceptibility to a range of diseases caused by viruses

The vaccine makes the immune system work harder against other infections, and researchers want to know why

It will be tested on those working on « the frontlines of COVID-19, such as healthcare workers and home workers, » added Professor Campbell

« 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 »

Bill and Melinda Gates have contributed over $ 10million (£ 6m) to the trial, called BRACE, which is coordinated by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Australia

More than a million people have died after contracting COVID-19 around the world, and more than 33 million people have contracted the disease, sometimes in its most severe forms

In the UK, the number of coronavirus-related deaths stands at over 42,000, while nearly 600,000 people have contracted the disease

The UK reported 15,166 more coronavirus cases and 81 more deaths in Saturday’s daily update

Around 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis in 2018 worldwide and 15 million died, according to figures from the World Health Organization

© 2020 Sky France

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News from the world – GB – Coronavirus: BCG tuberculosis vaccine could help fight COVID-19


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