COVID-19 Thread 4/8/2020 — Testing of BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin)Vaccine as Possible Protection

Thanks to Sandy_r for the following submission:

It’s been observed that some nations appear to be responding with a greater resistance to COVID-19 than others – particularly interesting is the difference between adjacent countries such as Spain and Portugal (Population ratio 5:1; COVID-19 mortality ratio 55:1)

One possible contributing factor is the historic adoption of the BCG (Baccillus-C-G) vaccine against Tuberculosis

Placebo-controlled trials are currently underway in Australia and the Netherlands – from the articles:-

“On Monday, scientists in Melbourne, Australia, started administering the B.C.G. vaccine or a placebo to thousands of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other health care workers — the first of several randomized controlled trials intended to test the vaccine’s effectiveness against the coronavirus.

“Nobody is saying this is a panacea,” said Nigel Curtis, an infectious diseases researcher at the University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, who planned the trial. “What we want to do is reduce the time an infected health care worker is unwell, so they recover and can come back to work faster.”

A clinical trial of 1,000 health care workers began 10 days ago in the Netherlands, said Dr. Mihai G. Netea, an infectious disease specialist at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen. Eight hundred health care workers have already signed up. (As in Australia, half of the participants will receive a placebo.)

Dr. Denise Faustman, director of immunobiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, is seeking funding to start a clinical trial of the vaccine in health care workers in Boston as well. Preliminary results could be available in as little as four months.

“We have really strong data from clinical trials with humans — not mice — that this vaccine protects you from viral and parasitic infections,” said Dr. Faustman. “I’d like to start today.”

Overview article considering current global perspectives:

Background article covering BCG legacy in more detail: