BCG vaccine stimulates immune responses against Covid-19: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 08, 2020 Published on August 08, 2020

BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin), a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) disease, is effective to contain multiple infectious diseases including Covid-19 by evoking immune responses, a study published in Cell Reports Medicine stated as cited in the Medical Xpress report.

The study was conducted on people who have received a BCG vaccine in the past five years (before the coronavirus pandemic). It showed that the vaccine is safe and induces immune responses.

The study found that those who received the BCG vaccine did not fall ill more often or become critical during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Netherlands. “What the comparison between the groups shows is that at least those who received the vaccine did not get sick more often or become more seriously ill. It, therefore, does not hurt to vaccinate people with BCG,” the scientists noted in a statement.

The researchers noted that the country reported a lower number of sick people and a lower incidence of extreme fatigue among vaccinated individuals in the period March-May 2020.

Effectiveness yet to be determined

However, researchers warned that the study has its own limitations and should not be used to draw conclusions regarding the effectiveness of the BCG vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2.

“It is very important to confirm that someone who has been vaccinated with BCG does not experience any increased symptoms during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although we see less sickness in the people who have had the BCG vaccination, only the ongoing prospective BCG vaccination studies can determine whether this vaccination can help against Covid-19,” said study co-author Mihai Netea from Radboud University as cited in the Medical Xpress report.

However, the World Health Organisation did not corroborate the effectiveness of the BCG vaccine. It had mentioned in a statement published in its official website in April 2020: “There is no evidence that BCG protects people against infection with Covid-19 virus. Two clinical trials addressing this question are underway, and the WHO will evaluate the evidence when it is available. In the absence of evidence, the WHO does not recommend BCG vaccination for the prevention of Covid-19.”

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Published on August 08, 2020
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