New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: At a time when the whole world is trying hard to find a cure for the highly contagious coronavirus, a new study has found that tuberculosis vaccine may help in reducing deaths caused by COVID-19.

According to the study that was published in online science journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America’ has claimed that tuberculosis vaccine routinely given to children in countries with high rates of that bacterial disease might be helping to reduce deaths from the novel coronavirus.

The study, which compared the data on COVID-19 mortality rates across the world, claimed that a 10 per cent increase in TB vaccine coverage could lead to a 10 per cent reduction in deaths from coronavirus.

“This is remarkable, considering that [these parts of] Latin America have much higher population densities than the North American states analysed, including New York,” said co-author Carolina Barillas-Mury, as reported by news agency ANI. 

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The study found that COVID-19 mortality rate in West Germany was 2.9 times higher among people in eastern Germany. According to the study, the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunisation plans were different in Germany before its unification in 1990.

Former East Germany began inoculating children against TB a decade earlier than in the west, meaning older Germans in the eastern parts of the country were likely to have been given the vaccine. Older people are believed to be at increased risk from COVID-19, the study claimed.

The new study has challenged the World Health Organisation’s claim on the TB vaccine which had earlier said that “there is no evidence” that it is effective against the dreadful coronavirus infection.

About Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccinations:

The BCG vaccine was developed by French microbiologists Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin. It contains a live strain of Mycobacterium Bovis, which is related to the bacteria that causes TB. Researchers also claim that it has some effectiveness against Buruli ulcer infection and other nontuberculous mycobacteria infections.

The BCG vaccine, which was first used medically in 1921, was developed from Mycobacterium Bovis, which is commonly found in cows and it does not have serious side effects. According to a study in 2014, the BCG vaccine can reduce infection by 19–27 per cent and reduced progression to active TB by 71 per cent.

(With ANI, Reuters inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma