A recent non-controlled, observational study led by researchers at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) reports that a Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine administered after birth to protect against tuberculosis may represent a “game changer” in the fight against SARS-CoV-2. They have found that potentially, the severity of COVID-19 could be impacted by a link to national policies on BCG childhood vaccination.
The Observational Study
Published on medRxiv (preliminary research) the authors identify a possible connection to explore further, between those nations that mandate BCG vaccines and less confirmed fatalities from SARS-CoV-2. Gonzalo Otazu, assistant professor at New York Institute of Technology, led the study and notes the low amount of cases in Japan despite the fact that A) they haven’t had as strict “lockdowns” as others and B) they have a high proportion of elderly among the population.
As the authors declare, BCG vaccination has been reported to offer broad protection to respiratory infections. The group studied and compared large numbers of countries BCG vaccination policies with the morbidity and mortality for COVID and uncovered that those countries lacking universal policies of BCG vaccination (Italy, Netherlands, USA) may be more severely impacted by the pandemic than those countries with universal and long-standing BCG policies.
An observational study, (uncontrolled), any correlation cannot be conclusive as any number of confounding factors may be involved. Hence, no conclusions can be drawn here but this information could be used for in-depth, systematic and controlled studies.
Gonzalo Otazu Aldana, PhD, assistant professor at New York Institute of Technology