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BCG shots could delay the spread of Covid-19, study finds | Mumbai News


MUMBAI: Debate over TB vaccine’s ability to protect against Covid-19 was awarded a new contract with a US research paper claiming that BCG ‘slows down’ the spread of infection within the community, at least in the early 30 days.
The article published in Science Advances, an peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said countries with mandatory vaccination against Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) showed “lower rates of infection and mortality “for the first 30 years. days of the Covid-19 outbreak in your country.
The researchers estimated that only 468 people would have died of Covid-19 in the US as of March 29, which is 19% of the actual number of 2,467 deaths by that date, if they had instituted the mandatory BCG vaccine several decades ago. .
Countries, such as India and China, that have included BCG in the national immunization program have had relatively lower death rates. Some sections of physicians believe that it is the BCG vaccine that protects people against Covid-related complications.
The BCG vaccine given to babies within 15 days after birth to prevent tuberculosis is also known to strengthen immunity against other infectious diseases. Since Covid-19 emerged eight months ago, there has also been much debate about BCG’s ability to protect against new coronaviruses.
The US study looked at the daily rate of increase of confirmed Covid cases in 135 countries and deaths in 134 countries in the first 30-day period of each country’s outbreak. “Mandatory BCG vaccination was correlated with a flattening of the curve in the spread of Covid-19,” the analysis showed. However, the authors said that BCG cannot be portrayed as a “magic bullet”.
Public health expert Dr. Anant Bhan said the observation that the BCG vaccine “protects” against Covid-19 seems “greener” than scientific. “It seems like a conjecture at the moment, especially since India and Brazil, which have BCG vaccination programs, have a large number of cases at the moment,” he added.
Dr. Shashank Joshi, dean of the Indian College of Physicians, said: “BCG is important for developing immunity and is believed to have a role in preventing Covid.” Citing examples, he added that while Portugal, which has a mandatory BCG vaccination program, saw relatively fewer cases, its neighbor Spain witnessed one of the worst outbreaks in the world.
“There are two points of discussion regarding BCG vaccine: Can it be administered as a reused vaccine? Can it be administered to a Covid patient to prevent complications? Dr. Joshi said. The state government is conducting a clinical trial to verify the efficacy of the BCG vaccine in reducing morbidity among Covid-19 patients. “The trial has 250 Covid patients who were treated at 18 state medical colleges. An answer should be available within the next two to three months, “he added.

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