BCG Vaccination Is Not The COVID-19 Solution

Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine prevents tuberculosis, not COVID-19 disease
covid-19 with the world map

There is no evidence that the Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine (BCG) protects people against infection with the coronavirus causing COVID-19 disease, said the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a scientific brief published on April 12, 2020, the WHO said ‘in the absence of evidence, it does not recommend BCG vaccination for the prevention of COVID-19 disease.’ 

However, the ‘WHO continues to recommend neonatal BCG vaccination in countries or settings with a high incidence of tuberculosis. BCG vaccination prevents severe forms of tuberculosis in children.’

There is experimental evidence from both animal and human studies that the BCG vaccine has non-specific effects on the immune system. 

These effects have not been well characterized and their clinical relevance is unknown, says the WHO.

On April 11, 2020, the WHO updated its ongoing evidence review of the major scientific databases and clinical trial repositories.

The review yielded 3 preprints, in which the authors compared the incidence of COVID-19 cases in countries where the BCG vaccine is used with countries where it is not used and observed that countries that routinely used the vaccine in neonates had less reported cases of COVID-19 to date. 

Such ecological studies are prone to significant bias from many confounders, including differences in national demographics and disease burden, testing rates for COVID-19 virus infections, and the stage of the pandemic in each country. 

This review also yielded 2 registered protocols for clinical trials, both of which aim to study the effects of BCG vaccination given to healthcare workers directly involved in the care of patients with COVID-19.

One study sponsored by Murdoch Childrens Research Institute is a phase 3 clinical trial, randomized controlled trial in up to 4,170 healthcare workers to determine if BCG vaccination reduces the incidence and severity of COVID-19 disease during the 2020 pandemic.

In summary, with the absence of evidence, WHO does not recommend BCG vaccination for the prevention of COVID-19, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. 

Precision Vaccinations publishes COVID-19 disease pandemic news.