06/22/2020 - 12:04
A tuberculosis vaccine available for decades is being tested in Australia to measure its ability to help the immune system fight the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes Covid-19. This is the famous BCG.
The strategy particularly aims at preparing for a dreaded second wave of infections.
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The BCG vaccine, whose known ability to stimulate the immune system, is currently used for various treatments, for example as therapy for bladder cancer.
In the experiment, launched by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, hundreds of healthcare workers , who are on the front line in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth hospitals , are being vaccinated with the TBG bacillus .
The goal is to recruit 10,000 healthcare workers from around the world, including in Europe and South America, where the virus is most prevalent.
For Nicolas Wood, immunology specialist at the Westmead Hospital in Sydney, the vaccine may be vital if there is a new peak of infections with flexibilities in social isolation. "There may be a second wave. If this happens, the BCG vaccine could provide protection," he said.
Why BCG Could Work
The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine is still widely used in the developing world, where scientists have found that it does more than prevent tuberculosis. The vaccine prevents the death of babies from a number of causes and reduces the incidence of respiratory diseases.
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The vaccine appears to "train" the immune system to recognize and react to a variety of infections, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, experts say. In April, there was little evidence that the vaccine mitigates coronavirus infection, but a series of clinical trials that Australia began to conduct at the time provided good news.
In April, scientists in Melbourne, Australia began administering the BCG vaccine or a placebo to thousands of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other health care workers, in the first of several randomized controlled trials that will test the efficacy of the vaccine against the coronavirus.
A little history
The history of the BCG vaccine. is unusual. In the 19th century, her idea arose from the observation that milking machines did not contract tuberculosis. The vaccine is named after its inventors, Dr. Albert Calmette and Dr. Camille Guerin, who developed it in the early years of the 20th century from mycobacterium bovis, a form of tuberculosis that infects livestock.
The vaccine was first used in humans in 1921 and was widely adopted after World War II. BCG is now used primarily in the developing world and in countries where tuberculosis is still common and is administered to more than 100 million babies a year.
With information from ANSA and Clarín