Covid-19 : South africa on the trail of the BCG - The Point

the tuberculosis vaccine, BCG, could it protect the Covid-19 ? Five hundred caregivers from south africa started this week in Cape town to test the potential pr

Covid-19 : South africa on the trail of the BCG - The Point

the tuberculosis vaccine, BCG, could it protect the Covid-19 ? Five hundred caregivers from south africa started this week in Cape town to test the potential protective effects against the Covid-19 of the good old-used vaccine for more than a century to protect against tuberculosis (BCG). The trial has focused primarily on the health workers, because they are the most exposed to the virus. The results will be made public if they are sufficiently positive.

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" The clinical trial has begun ", said to AFP, Duncan McDonald, one of the leaders of the organization of medical research TASK that leads to the experience. This test – 250 caregivers will receive an injection of BCG and other 250 a placebo – is conducted in a hospital in the Cape town region under the direction of professor Andreas Diacon, the boss of a TASK. "Some observations suggest that the BCG has effects on the immune system that we don't yet understand completely, especially as it strengthens against respiratory infections," said professor Diacon.

studies have proven that children immunized with BCG vaccine suffered less from respiratory diseases. Other work suggests that it may protect against asthma and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. Scientists seek to prove he could have similar beneficial effects against the sars coronavirus. "If it was possible to reduce just a little the symptoms of this epidemic Covid-19, this would increase the chances of survival, avoid hospitalizations, and even to get sick ", has been hoped for by the Pr Andreas Diacon.

While the global interest in the effects of BCG and its potential for use against Covid-19 has recently gained momentum, the WHO has pointed out that due to a lack of clinical trials, there was no evidence that it provides protection against the virus. "There is experimental evidence in both animal and human studies the BCG vaccine has non-specific effects on the immune system. These effects have not been well characterized and their clinical relevance is unknown, " said the WHO in a press release last month.

At the time, WHO said that BCG should not be used against the Covid-19, at the risk of reducing the availability of the vaccination neonatal in countries where tuberculosis is high. "The BCG vaccination prevents severe forms of tb among children and the diversion of supplies to local may result in the non-vaccination of new-born, leading to an increase in diseases and deaths due to tb," said WHO.

caregivers in first line

In the meantime, the clinical study of Cape town focuses on caregivers, " because we believe that they are the most vulnerable ", he added. The study team will carry out regular statistical tests to see if an advantage of BCG revaccination may be shown. An independent committee will review the results. "If there is a signal strong enough and positive, the results will be made public. "

Some 300,000 people – one of the highest rates in the world – are infected each year tuberculosis in South Africa, according to the world health Organization (WHO). All newborns are vaccinated with BCG vaccine, but the disease has made about 63, 000 deaths in 2018. Clinical studies equivalent to that of the Cap are currently conducted in the netherlands, Australia and France to demonstrate a possible effect shield of the BCG. In the United States, a research group in Boston, hopes to test the vaccine in health care workers on the front line in the same purpose. Their results have not been published yet.

Invented in France, at the institut Pasteur, it has been almost 100 years by Calmette and Guerin (who have given him their name : vaccine bilié Calmette-Guérin, or BCG), it was administered to 3 billion people in the world, which makes it the most vaccine widely administered.

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Updated Date: 22 May 2020, 01:33

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