Century-old BCG vaccine used to eradicate tuberculosis DOES ‘reduce the chance of death from Covid-19’, study confirms

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by Joe Pinkstone, Daily Mail:

  • Previous studies suggested the BCG vaccine offers protection from Covid-19 
  • US researchers conducted a comprehensive review and found a clear link
  • Say it is currently impossible to determine if it is causative or just a correlation 
  • But countries with a 10 per cent greater prevalence of the BCG vaccine also had a 10.4 per cent reduction in COVID-19 mortality

The BCG vaccine given to every British teenager between 1953 and 2005 to protect against tuberculosis could offer protection against Covid-19, a new study has found.

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) was first mass produced in 1924, and widespread vaccination for secondary school children was only halted in the UK when TB was effectively eradicated.

Academics in the US compared the BCG jab’s popularity in several countries with each nation’s coronavirus outbreak — including both infections and deaths — and found a clear link between the vaccine and a lower mortality rate from Covid-19.

When differences in social, economic, and demographics were taken into account, scientists found that where there was a 10 per cent greater prevalence of the BCG vaccine there was also a 10.4 per cent reduction in COVID-19 mortality.

This suggests that in the UK, adults aged between 30 and 80 who were given the jab at school may have a greater level of protection.

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The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine (pictured) is used to fend off tuberculosis (TB) but it has long been known to have other health benefits, including helping a person's immune system to fend off respiratory infections

The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine (pictured) is used to fend off tuberculosis (TB) but it has long been known to have other health benefits, including helping a person’s immune system to fend off respiratory infections

Children in the UK were required to have the injection by the age of 14, making the last cohort to receive the immune-boosting jab around 29 to 30 now.

BCG is still widely used in some countries around the world where there is a higher risk of TB, but in the UK only at-risk individuals, such as babies living with infected relatives and children in some BAME groups, receive the jab.

Professor Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nottingham who was not involved in the research, said: ‘Within the UK, most people over 30 and under 80 will have had BCG in the schools programme.

‘Many children in the BAME groups will have continued to be vaccinated at birth, although people born outside the UK may not have been vaccinated.

‘There are also many different BCGs around the world.’

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