UK study tests if BCG vaccine protects against COVID

LONDON ( Reuters) â Researchers working in the UK branch of a global trial have announced that the commonly used BCG tuberculosis vaccine would be evaluated in Britain against COVID-19 on frontline health staff.

Vaccine for defense against TB is caused by Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) which has been shown to defend against other respiratory pathogenic infections or serious diseases, and has a large innate immune system response.

Professor John Campbell of the University of Exeter Medical School said, "The BCG has proven to improve immunity in a generalized way, which may afford some security from COVID-19."

"We are looking to see if the BCG vaccine will better protect patients with COVID-19 complications. If so, we will save lives by prescribing or supplementing the injection that is conveniently accessible and cost-effective."

The UK research is part of an ongoing Australian trial that started in the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil in April and has also armaments.

Also evaluated in South Africa for COVID-19 safety is the BCG vaccine.

The British trial hires volunteers before winter, which officials cautioned could be challenging when a second wave of infections strike the region.

UK Premier Boris Johnson said restrictions might be imposed in order to contain the pandemic before spring.

The UK arm, which operates from Exeter, Southwest England, seeks to hire 1,000 staff employed in nearby health and welfare services.

About 10,000 medical professionals would be recruited around the globe.

(Alistair Smout report; Christina Fincher editing)