TB shot may help beat back COVID-19: researcher
Researchers in the UK said Sunday they would test whether a widely used tuberculosis vaccine could protect health care workers from COVID-19.
Professor John Campell is the lead researcher on the study at the University of Exeter Medical School.
"It's an incredibly safe vaccine. We know it is. It's still being given to 120 million babies each year."
The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine (BCG) helped eradicate tuberculosis in the UK. However, it has also been shown to stimulate an immune response that can protect against other diseases as well.
"And that's been shown in previous experimental work. And that's really important because these are called" off-target "effects. They're not against TB, but they use the vaccine as a kind of booster for the immune system in general. ""
The UK trial is part of an existing Australian-led trial that started in April that also has guns in the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil.
The BCG vaccine is also being tested against COVID-19 in South Africa.
In the UK, researchers hope to enroll 1,000 people working in health care.
Dr. Sam Hill has a general practice and volunteered.
"Personally, I don't really want to get sick this winter, I also want to run a business and look after patients. If I can get better quickly from COVID and get back to work, that's a real advantage for me."
Professor Campbell said he didn't expect the BCG study would lead to a miracle drug, but said anything that offers even a bit of protection from the pandemic is a tool in equipping healthcare workers.
"The BCG may be buying us very, very valuable time and protecting health care, protecting the global economy and protecting people and families at risk."
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