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Study: Countries that administer tuberculosis vaccine may have lower COVID-19 deaths

Study: Countries that administer tuberculosis vaccine may have lower COVID-19 deaths
April 16
11:54 2020
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Countries with widespread Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination programmes have lower rates of coronavirus deaths, according to a new study.

Bacillus Calmette-Guérin is a vaccine for tuberculosis administered at birth.

The study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, says COVID-19 death rates are almost six times lower in countries with a widespread vaccination programme involving BCG.

Based on research that involved checking the mortality rate per one million residents of each country, the researchers made an estimate on the COVID-19 fatality rate from the top 50 countries reporting highest case events.

The nations’ economic status, the elderly population were also factored during the research.

In a paper published by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, experts said the COVID-19 mortality rate of countries that use BCG vaccines was 5.8 times lower than countries that do not.

“The intriguing observation of a significant association between BCG use and lower COVID-19-attributable mortality remained discernable,” the researchers said.

“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 in Boston, Australia and the Netherlands are reportedly conducting trials to investigate the potential of the BCG to combat coronavirus.

BCG studies involving health care workers are due to be completed by March and  December 2020 in Australia and the Netherlands respectively.

The studies are to find a solution to protect those on the frontline of the pandemic. There are several ongoing searches for a vaccine for COVID-19

Chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, is one of the options undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19.

A group of researchers at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (QCCR) in Brisbane also said lopinavir/ritonavir, an HIV-suppressing combination and chloroquine were found to have killed the virus in test tubes.

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