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COVID-19 death and BCG vaccination programs worldwide
Published in Korean National Tuberculosis Association
Volume: 84
Issue: 1
Pages: 13 - 21

Several clinical trials are being conducted worldwide to investigate the protective effect of the bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine against death in healthcare providers who are working directly with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Clinical studies suggested that certain live vaccines, particularly the BCG vaccine, could reduce the mortality due to other diseases caused by non-targeted pathogens, most probably through the nonspecific effects (heterologous effects). By the end of May 2020, the available information on the COVID-19 pandemic indicated the great effect of the BCG vaccine in reducing the number of COVID-19 death cases. The occurrence of death due to COVID-19 was found to be 21-fold lower in countries with a national BCG vaccination policy than in countries without such a policy, based on the medians of COVID-19 death case per 1 million of the population in these two groups of countries (p<0.001, Mann-Whitney test). Therefore, it can be concluded that the early establishment of a BCG vaccination policy in any country is a key element in reducing the number of COVID-19 and tuberculosis death cases. Copyright © 2021 The Korean Academy of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases.

About the journal
JournalTuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases
PublisherKorean National Tuberculosis Association