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Tuberculosis Vaccine Could Mitigate Risk Of Contracting COVID-19, Study Shows

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A new study from Cedars-Sinai is showing that a tuberculosis vaccine could help prevent coronavirus infections.

The study published Thursday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that people who had received the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine were less likely to contract COVID-19.

Researchers conducted blood tests on 6,000 healthcare workers in the Cedars-Sinai Health System and found that those who had received tuberculosis vaccinations, which was about 30%, were "significantly less likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies," the hospital said in a new release.

The BCG vaccine is administered to 100 million children a year worldwide, Cedars-Sinai said. It was developed over a century ago, between 1908 and 1921.

"It appears that BCG-vaccinated individuals either may have been less sick and therefore produced fewer anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, or they may have mounted a more efficient cellular immune response against the virus," said Dr. Moshe Arditi, director of the Pediatric and Infectious Diseases and Immunology Division at Cedars-Sinai, in a statement. "We were interested in studying the BCG vaccine because it has long been known to have a general protective effect against a range of bacterial and viral diseases other than TB, including neonatal sepsis and respiratory infections."

Several clinical trials looking into the effectiveness of the tuberculosis vaccine against COVID-19 are being held nationwide, Cedars-Sinai said.

On Friday, drug maker Pfizer announced that it had applied for federal approval for its COVID-19 vaccine, which a preliminary study shows to be 95% effective. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the vaccine could become available as early as December.


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