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100-yr-old TB vaccine may prevent Covid: ICMR

The new study, published in the journal Science Advances, suggests that BCG could potentially act to inhibit the biomarkers of inflammation by the immune cells in the blood.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

A vaccine, used to treat tuberculosis since the last 100 years, may help prevent the risk of Covid-19 infections in older adults, Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR) said on Monday. According to study, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is considered to be one of the most broadly used vaccines in the world, with around 130 million infants receiving this vaccine every year.

There is improved interest in BCG vaccination of elderly population, especially in countries with a high number of reported Covid-19 cases. Previous studies have reported that BCG vaccination may confer protection against respiratory tract infections, involving viral infections.

The new study, published in the journal Science Advances, suggests that BCG could potentially act to inhibit the biomarkers of inflammation by the immune cells in the blood.

Further, the study also reports that the recent BCG vaccination was not associated with hyperinflammation but might play a protective role in elderly population against inflammatory diseases.

Apart from a variety of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which could possibly play a detrimental role in Covid-19, antiinflammatory responses including IL-10 and IL33~ implicated in Covid-19 disease severity~ were also decreased in vaccinated individuals. “In conclusion, the current study emphasizes that the effect of BCG vaccination is safe and does not lead to increased inflammation in elderl ,” the ICMR study stated.