Published On: Fri, Oct 30th, 2020

BCG vaccine can help elderly fight against Covid-19: ICMR

New Delhi: The Bacille Calmette-Guerin or BCG vaccine, originally made against tuberculosis, may help in the management of Covid-19, especially in the elderly, says a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

We also investigated total antibody levels in a group of healthy elderly individuals

The BCG vaccination is known to induce innate immune memory, which confers protection against several infections, the study uploaded as preprint at medRxiv, reported.

“We investigated the impact of BCG vaccination on the frequencies of T cell, B cell, monocyte and dendritic cell subsets,” the study researchers from ICMR wrote.

“We also investigated total antibody levels in a group of healthy elderly individuals (age 60-80 years) at one month post vaccination as part of our clinical study to examine the effect of BCG on Covid-19,” they added.

The results showed that BCG vaccination induces enhanced innate and adaptive immunity in elderly individuals which may prove beneficial against the coronavirus.

“Finally, BCG vaccination resulted in elevated levels of all antibody isotypes,” the researchers wrote.

“BCG vaccination was associated with enhanced innate and adaptive memory cell subsets, as well as total antibody levels in elderly individuals,” they concluded.

Earlier in October, as part of a large-scale global trial, scientists in Britain launched a study to test if the widely-used BCG vaccine could help protect people against Covid-19.

A study published in the journal ‘Cell Reports Medicine’, also revealed that the BCG vaccine has a general stimulating effect on the immune system and is, therefore, effective against Covid-19.

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