With researchers around the world burning the midnight oil in an attempt to save the universe from the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19), a new study has revealed that COVID-19 related deaths are much lower in countries with Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination programme.
BCG, a vaccine primarily used to fight off tuberculosis, is now being studied in clinical trials in some parts of the world as it’s seen as a potential threat to COVID-19.
The vaccine has been available around the world for more than 100 years.
According to US-based experts, the BSG vaccine could be used to improve people’s immunity hence prevent COVID-19 infections.
The new research, yet to be peer-reviewed, found out that COVID-19 related deaths are six times lower in countries which have embraced the BCG vaccine compared to nations without, British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, reports.
The researchers arrived at the figures after assessing the COVID-19 fatality rate from the top 50 countries reporting the highest cases.
Some of the factors the researchers considered in the study include individual country’s economic status as well as the elderly population which they say could distort the overall picture of COVID-19 death rates. COVID-19 is said to affect the elderly more than the young people.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health experts termed the research as “discernable”.
“While mortality attributable to COVID-19 has devastated global health systems and economies, striking regional differences have been observed. COVID-19-attributable mortality among BCG-using countries was 5.8 times lower than in non BCG-using countries.”
For instance, in the UK where mass vaccination was dropped in 2005 when rates of the lung infection dropped, the total number of confirmed deaths stand at over 9500 with over 78,000 infections reported. It’s ranked fifth in global COVID-19 deaths, after US (20,580), Italy (19,468), Spain (16,606) and France (13,832).
Kenya, where BCG vaccination is mandatory in all government facilities, seven deaths have been confirmed so far with over 190 confirmed cases.
Some of the countries that have begun human clinical trials to evaluate the BCG vaccine’s efficacy, include Australia and the Netherlands.
The clinical tests that will take six-months will involve frontline health workers in South Australia with the aim of protecting them against COVID-19 or reduce severity.