Advanced TB vaccine to protect COVID-19

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Texas A&M College of Medicine is leading a consortium of research hospitals and medical schools in a phase 4 trial to determine whether the 100-year-old TB vaccine can help mitigate the damage caused by COVID-19, at least until a vaccine against the new coronavirus has been shown to be safe and effective.”Scientists have known for decades that the tuberculosis vaccine, called bacillus Calmette-GuĂ©rin, or BCG, improves immunity against certain viruses”, The Texas Tribune reported in May when the trial was just beginning. Jeffrey Cirillo, professor of microbial pathogenesis and immunology at Texas A&M who leads the trial, said Politico About 100 people have already been vaccinated on Thursday, another 200 to 300 will receive their vaccines in the next two weeks, and the target is 1,800 subjects in the “randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial”.

The TB vaccine has been used more than a billion times worldwide, but it is not widely used in the United States except to fight bladder cancer. Researchers from Texas A&M, Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard’s School of Public Health, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center hope the vaccine will boost the immune system to fight disease, all like cancer cells. A similar trial is underway in the Netherlands.

US researchers will monitor volunteers for six months, looking for statistically significant differences between those receiving the BCG vaccine and the group receiving the placebo. “We are also performing a cognitive study in parallel to assess the cognitive effects of COVID-19,” said Cirillo. Politico‘s Myah Ward, who uses before and after MRIs and cognitive assessments to see if the vaccine reduces COVID-19 mental impairment. The vaccine is most effective in the first two to three years, he added, and if it works, it could be used either as an interim measure until a vaccine against coronavirus, either in tandem with this vaccine to make it more effective. Peter Weber



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