As published on a lot of media platforms, the vaccine for tuberculosis, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) could be helping a lot of nations fend off coronavirus and minimizing the spread of it. The statistics does seem to support the claim as nations holding a strong universal and long term BCG policies have been much less affected by the coronavirus, whereas currently the two most devastated countries from coronavirus- Italy and the United States do not have any universal policy for BCG.
A lot of countries, at least 6 are currently trying to establish a correlation with concrete scientific evidence.
This gained more traction after reports came out that New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) is conducting a study and has reportedly started to state findings about BCG vaccine being a game changer. But it must be mentioned that they are yet to publish their study and till then it cannot be confirmed.
Numerous more findings are popping up on sites, like a preliminary study posted in … https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.24.20042937v1 , which also indicate a correlation between BCG vaccine and Corona Virus, claiming that countries with strong universal BCG policy have suffered a lot less to Covid-19.
This theory is based on the fact that BCG vaccine has been long thought to be effective against other viruses, and currently Covid-19 seems to be one of those viruses, which it can combat.
New research is also being carried out by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), as they have initiated vaccinating their healthcare workers with BCG, as a probable cure for COVID-19. Backed up by good funding this Australian Research team hopes to find a cure for the corona virus in BCG. The success of the test will rely upon if the healthcare workers who are exposed to patients having the virus, do not eventually show any severe symptoms and ultimately do not catch the virus themselves.
Researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia mentioned, “BCG also boosts human frontline immunity, training it to respond to germs with greater intensity” (indicating to COVID-19)
The chart below (Fig-1) shows the top 8 countries suffering from COVID-19 and their policies in BCG vaccination, as of 5th April 2020.
Now, the Chart at the bottom (Fig-2) shows countries with strong universal BCG vaccine policy and the effect of COVID-19 in their respective nations, as of 5th April 2020.
The numbers do tend to add up showing that countries with strong universal BCG policies have been less affected by the COVID-19 virus. However there are few exceptions, for example Russia, Malaysia, Brazil & Ecuador as indicated on the chart, still rank on the top tier of countries to have been affected the most by the corona virus.
The research being carried out by MCRI and the test results they are hoping for, still do not promise to be completely conclusive, because even if all their vaccinated health workers do not contract the virus it could still be as a result of simply maintaining proper precautions and using the proper equipment.
The world wide findings have thus far not been decisive and more researches are required. Specially seeing if people with BCG vaccinations have been infected by COVID-19 and if they have, then what is the rate of it. This can give us a much more clear answer and help us reach a conclusion.
For now this remains as only a theory as we wait eagerly to get the final report of the study being conducted by NYIT and other institutions, who are still currently trying to give the claim a scientific validation.
References for the statistics-