Preliminary study suggests that TB vaccine may be limiting deaths from Covid-19
Research carried out by members of the University of Virginia (USA) suggests that the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, which is routinely administered against tuberculosis to children in countries with high infection rates, could play an important role in mitigation of Covid-19 mortality rates.
Led by assistant professor Luis Escobar of the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, and two colleagues from the National Institutes of Health, it has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
If so, this could be one of the reasons why mortality rates markedly lower than expected in Covid-19 cases are observed in developing countries. “In our initial research, we found that countries with high BCG vaccination rates had lower mortality rates,” said Escobar, a faculty member at the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation and an affiliate of the Center for Global Change. located at Fralin Life Institute of Sciences.
“But all countries are different: Guatemala has a younger population than, for example, Italy , so we had to make adjustments to the data to accommodate those differences,” explained the researcher, who, in collaboration with researchers from NIH Alvaro Molina-Cruz and Carolina Barillas-Mury, collected mortality data for coronavirus from all over the world. From these data, the team adjusted for variables such as income, access to education and health services, population size and density, and age distribution.