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TB vaccination linked with significantly improved COVID-19 outcomes

A tuberculosis vaccine administered over the past 15 years has been correlated with significantly improved COVID-19 results, especially in young adults, according to a new report. Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have studied the connection between Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) tuberculosis vaccine and COVID-19 outcomes.

The research, published in the journal Vaccines, showed that BCG regimens are correlated with better COVID-19 results, both in terms of reducing infection levels and death rates per million, particularly for those 24 years of age or younger who have obtained vaccination in the last 15 years. There was no impact on older adults who obtained the BCG vaccine, the researchers said. Most countries have avoided inoculating their whole population, but others do utilize BCG widely, they added.

Scientists collected data from 55 countries with populations of more than 3 million inhabitants, about 63% of the world’s population.

As the pandemic hit various countries on separate days, the countries coincided with the first day on which the world achieved a death rate of 0.5 deaths a million or more. Researchers monitored 23 factors, including demographic, economic, pandemic-related, and country-based health. BCG vaccine administration has been shown to be consistently related to COVID-19 results across 55 nations, they added.

In order to assess if other vaccinations have have an effect on COVID-19 outcomes, the researchers performed the same study with measles and rubella vaccines and noticed that they did not have a substantial correlation with COVID-19 outcomes.

Many epidemiological tests have demonstrated that the BCG vaccine has an impact beyond tuberculosis, but scientists do not yet know whether the vaccine has such an impact.