Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination offers protection against novel coronavirus to an extent and also reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients.
This study by Gonzalo H Otazu and others from the New York Institute of Technology, New York, was posted on a preprint server medRxiv.
The study found an association between countries having universal BCG vaccination and reduced coronavirus cases including deaths.
“The correlation between the beginning of universal BCG vaccination and the protection against COVID-19 suggests that BCG might confer long-lasting protection against the current strain of coronavirus,” The Hindu reported quoting the authors.
Speaking about the study, Prof. Madhukar Pai, a TB expert from McGill University tweeted saying that the study has major limitations.
Researchers informed that the study looks at vaccination at the country/population level to protective effect at the individual level.
Another researcher from McGill university Emily MacLean said, “In this study, low-quality evidence observed at the population level is used to make sweeping inferences about BCG’s effectiveness on an individual level.”
As per the study, middle- and high-income countries having a universal BCG vaccination policy have reported fewer deaths than countries that do not have such a policy.
TB expert and virologist Jacob John further said that the protection offered by BCG was not robust and long-lasting.
The study, however, further revealed that the protection offered by the BCG vaccine is not uniform across the world.
The vaccine doesn’t protect adults in India but in the United Kingdom, there is a 70 per cent reduction in all forms of TB disease.