Can the TB vaccine help fight the virus?

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It is a new hope in the fight against the Covid-19. Last Friday, a team of Australian researchers announced that they have undertaken to test a large-scale vaccine used for decades against tuberculosis to test whether it can protect health workers from the virus.

The test for this vaccine, BCG, will involve a total of some 4,000 healthcare workers in Australian hospitals to verify its ability to reduce symptoms of Covid-19, said researchers at the Murdoch Institute in Melbourne.

But the Australians are not the only ones to carry out these tests. Similar tests will also be conducted in other countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and in France. In France, this vaccine was compulsory for children since between 1960 and 2007. It was notably criticized for its too many side effects, note L’Express.

Laurent Lagrost, research director at Inserm, assures our colleagues of TF1 that “when there is a large BCG vaccination coverage in a given country, we realize that the severity of the disease is less”. Conversely, he adds that “in countries which have not had this vaccination policy, such as Italy or the United States, it appears that the more severe forms are more frequent”.

“BCG also increases the body’s basic immune capabilities”

“Although originally developed for tuberculosis and still administered to over 130 million babies each year, BCG also boosts the body’s basic immune capabilities, helping it respond to germs with more strength, “said the Australian research team.

In France, the Institut Pasteur de Lille is also looking into this issue and has set up a clinical trial.

“We would like to try to use BCG, especially on people at risk, in contact with the sick, and I think mainly of care staff and people who care for the elderly, says Professor TF1 Camille Locht , Inserm research director at the Institut Pasteur in Lille. BCG vaccination could have a fairly rapid effect, much more than any other vaccine. ”

The current test will allow us to say whether or not the BCG makes it possible to fight against the Covid-19.


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