You are here: Home » Health » News
Business Standard

BCG vaccine protects old people from respiratory infections: Report

BCG vaccine, originally made against TB, is effective against various infections -- possibly also Covid-19, say researchers, adding that it also protects elderly people from respiratory infections

Topics
Vaccine | Coronavirus

IANS  |  London 

Coronavirus, vaccine, covid, drugs, tests, clinical trials

The Bacille Calmette-Guerin or BCG vaccine, originally made against tuberculosis, gives an effective preventive action against various infections -- possibly also against Covid-19, say researchers, adding that it also protects elderly people from respiratory infections.

BCG is frequently given to children, but a double-blind randomised clinical study, published in the journal Cell, shows that elderly people also benefit from it.

"Two years ago we started the ACTIVATE study, with the aim of showing whether BCG vaccination could protect against infections in vulnerable elderly people," said study researcher Mihai Netea from Radboud University in the Netherlands.

According to the researchers, patients over 65 years of age who were admitted to hospital were randomised to receive BCG or placebo vaccination at their discharge.

"We followed them for a year to see if BCG could protect them against a broad range of infections," Netea said.

The team revealed that the ACTIVATE study had already started before the corona pandemic. A total of 198 elderly people were given either a placebo or a BCG upon discharge from the hospital.

During the research, there was a noticeable difference: in the placebo group, 42.3 per cent of the elderly developed an infection, while this was the case in only 25 per cent of the BCG group.

Also, the BCG-vaccinated participants had their first infection on average 16 weeks after vaccination, compared to 11 weeks for the placebo group. There was no difference in side effects.

"The most important observation was that BCG could mainly protect against respiratory infections: BCG-vaccinated elderly people had 75 per cent fewer respiratory infections than the elderly who received placebo," said study co-coordinator J. Giamarellos-Bourboulis.

Although most protection seems to have been against respiratory infections of (probably) viral origin, whether or not BCG also works against Covid-19 has not yet been demonstrated, due to the low prevalence of Covid-19 in this study, the team said.

However, the study does show that it is safe to give the BCG vaccination to the elderly and that it can protect them against various infections.

Several studies are underway that look specifically at the effects of BCG on Covid-19.

Last month, a study published in the journal 'Cell Reports Medicine', revealed that the BCG has a general stimulating effect on the immune system and is, therefore, effective against Covid-19.

--IANS

bu/dpb

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, September 03 2020. 16:48 IST