BCG vaccination – Possible Protection against COVID-19

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Salient Points

This article focuses on the possible protection that the BCG vaccination may offer against the COVID-19 infection. Both incidence and Case fatality rates were lower in countries with a Universal BCG immunisation program as compared to those without.

Detailed Summary 

The BCG vaccine, a live attenuated strain of mycobacterium bovis, was developed to combat TB. But there is strong epidemiological evidence that live, attenuated vaccines induce non – specific mortality benefits.

BCG is known to induce a 38-45% mortality reduction. It is shown to decrease respiratory infections, reduce tumor recurrence progression and decreases mortality and has been approved for use in bladder cancer. It is also shown to improve immunity against Listeria and influenza in murine models, it also showed to improve immunity to Staphylococcus aureus and Candida, etc.

Results from the study show that, in regions such as Europe, the COVID-19 outbreak mostly affected areas that do not have National Programs of BCG Vaccination.

In countries with and without BCG programs, the incidence of Covid-19 was 38.4 per million in countries with BCG vaccination whereas the incidence of Covid-19 was 358.4 per million in the absence of such a program.

The Fatality recorded in countries with BCG programs was 4.28 per million, compared to 40 per million in countries without a national program.

Case fatality rate in countries with a BCG program = 0.13%, whereas the CFR in countries without a BCG program = 0.33%.

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