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100-year-old tuberculosis vaccine may protect against COVID - The Boston Globe

100-year-old tuberculosis vaccine may protect against COVID - The Boston Globe

100-year-old tuberculosis vaccine may protect against COVID - The Boston Globe
Aug 15, 2022 1 min, 53 secs

Patients already had been enrolled in a study looking at BCG in type 1 diabetes when COVID began circulating in early 2020.

All 144 trial participants in the diabetes study enrolled in the parallel trial, which was conducted from January 2020 through April 2021, before any of the participants were vaccinated against COVID.

Ninety-six patients received the vaccine, while 48 were treated with a placebo.

Of those who received the vaccine, only one tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in their blood, indicating a previous infection over the 15-month study.

Andrew DiNardo, assistant professor of infectious disease at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who was not involved in the new study, said the results showed that BCG was more effective against COVID than he would have expected.

The MGH study raises the possibility that BCG could be used in conjunction with COVID vaccines to strengthen immunity, he said.

Denise Faustman, associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of immunobiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, who led the study, said she plans to seek emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to use BCG in people with type I diabetes to protect them from COVID.

The clinical trial looking at the benefits of BCG in people with diabetes is ongoing.

A small, earlier trial showed that adults with type 1 diabetes who received a BCG vaccine had lower blood sugar levels and were able to use less insulin.

Preliminary results from a larger study released In January 2021 by researchers in the Netherlands showed that elderly patients vaccinated with BCG developed symptomatic COVID infections just as often as those who had received a placebo six months after getting the shots.

Additionally, a study published in eClinicalMedicine in May 2022 found that BCG did not protect health care workers in South Africa from COVID infection or severe COVID and hospitalization.

Because her lab was already well into a five-year clinical trial of BCG in diabetes patients, trial participants had received two of three doses of the strongest strain of the vaccine over the previous two years.

Additionally, he said the study had not been set up to look at the impact on COVID from the start, and therefore wasn’t as strong as clinical trials that looked directly at whether BCG confers immune protection against COVID


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