A vaccine used to prevent tuberculosis is being given to health-care workers in Melbourne
A 100-year-old Tuberculosis vaccine is being given to frontline healthcare professionals in Melbourne to see if it can protect them against the pandemic COVID-19.
The bacillus Calmette-Guerin, or BCG, the shot has been appreciated for its off-target benefits such as common immunotherapy for early-stage bladder cancer. Additionally, the vaccine also seems to train the body’s first line of immune defence to better fight infections.
With an immunization against the evolving Coronavirus outbreak at least a year away, the World Health Organization says this move could reduce disease in those infected with the virus. This serves as an encouragement to the groups studying this virus, especially to a study led by Nigel Curtis, head of infectious diseases research, at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne.
One thing that’s being commonly suggested by the healthcare professionals is to inculcate immunity-boosting food in the diet. Since, prospective vaccination for the pandemic virus a year away, it has become important to look for alternatives. According to Curtis, the vaccine can boost the immune system against a whole range of different infections.
About 4,000 health-care workers have volunteered to be part of a six-month trial in Australia. They would be randomly allocated to be vaccinated against the seasonal flu, TB.
At present, the priority is on health workers who’re at higher risk of being infected. “We need to think of every possible way that we can protect health-care workers,” Curtis said. It is an inexpensive vaccine, which is generally used to immunize about 130 million newborns globally every year.
Earlier studies, ones conducted in Africa have shown that the BCG vaccine offers protection against TB— enhancing the immunity, especially White blood cells that target non-specific pathogens.
The only to find out whether this would work against the pandemic or not is with the trial, said Curtis.