BCG vaccine and coronavirus – does it protect against COVID-19?

CORONAVIRUS deaths are almost six times lower in countries which have a widespread BCG vaccination, a study has found.

The BCG vaccine gives immunity to tuberculosis, but mass vaccination in the UK was stopped back in 2005 when rates of the lung infection dropped.

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BCG vaccine is usually given to young children who are most at risk of catching TB
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What is BCG vaccine?

BCG vaccine – or Bacillus Calmette-Guerin to give its full name – is a jab given to prevent people from catching tuberculosis (TB).

It is often given to children between the ages of 10 and 14, but babies and those under the age of 35 can also receive one if they are most at risk.

For young children, it is recommended they receive the injection if they are in areas where the risk of TB is higher, or if they have a parent or grandparent born in a country where the rate is considered high.

Evidence has shown that the BCG vaccine does not work for those over 35.

Meanwhile, there are a number of reasons why you should not have the jab, including if you have had it before, already contracted TB in the past and if you are pregnant – for a full list, check the NHS website.

Is there any link between BCG vaccine and coronavirus?

Experts from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have discovered the death rate of Covid-19 is six times lower in countries that use the BCG injection.

The research, which is yet to be peer reviewed, suggests countries with widespread BCG vaccination programmes have much lower rates of the coronavirus than nations without.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health experts said in their paper: “The intriguing observation of a significant association between BCG use and lower Covid-19-attributable mortality remained discernable.

“While mortality attributable to Covid-19 has devastated global health systems and economies, striking regional differences have been observed.

“Covid-19-attributable mortality among BCG-using countries was 5.8 times lower than in non BCG-using countries.”

Researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne believe that a booster – or even a first dose of BCG – could in fact help protect against coronavirus by turbo-charging the immune system.

Trials in four countries are already underway with 4,000 Australian hospital workers volunteering for a six-month trial, while a team in the Netherlands are testing it on 1,000 healthcare workers.

Boston in Massachusetts are in talks over their own trial, while Exeter University here in the UK are also considering it.


What is tuberculosis?

This is an infectious disease that normally attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of your body.

It is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis which requires high levels of oxygen.

Although symptoms are common, TB can attack someone without any symptoms which can lead to killing half of those infected if left untreated.

Statistics in 2018 recorded that around 1% of the population were infected by tuberculosis, with 1.5 million deaths from 10 million cases that year – that made it the number one cause of death by an infectious disease.

Mandatory BCG vaccines were stopped in the UK after 52 years
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Why didn’t everyone in the UK have BCG vaccine?

BCG vaccinations started in 1953, with children between the ages of 10 and 14 receiving one.

But this was stopped in July 2005 as it was no longer cost effective for the number of cases that rose.

In 1953, 94 children were immunised to prevent a case of TB, where as in 1988, 12,000 children would be vaccinated to prevent a single case.

The injection is still available on the NHS for those most at risk – but no longer as a regular jab for all children.

Source: thesun
BCG vaccine and coronavirus – does it protect against COVID-19?