Dutch hospitals researching TB vaccine for Covid prevention
A large number of Dutch hospitals are launching a study to see if the vaccine against tuberculosis can also prevent a coronavirus infection, or result in less severe symptoms of Covid-19. The study is focused on vulnerable patients aged 60 or older, between 5,200 and 7,000 of whom will be approached to participate in the trial through the hospitals that treat them, De Gelderlander reports.
A total of 22 hospitals, including all the university hospitals, are participating in the study. Radboudumc is playing a central role, as it has been studying other uses for the BCG vaccine for years. The participants in the study will be followed for six months. The plan is to have the first results by the end of this year.
It is already known that the BCG vaccine, as the vaccine against tuberculosis is officially called, can increase resistance to other diseases as it gives the immune system a "boost". Previous research also showed that the vaccine is "in any case safe to give to the elderly and that it can protect them against various infections," Professor of Experimental Internal Medicine Mihai Netea said to the newspaper. The BCG vaccine is the most widely administered vaccine in the world.
An international study is also ongoing into the effectiveness of the tuberculosis vaccine in combating the coronavirus among 10 thousand healthcare workers, including 2 thousand from the Netherlands. Radboudumc also started such a study among 1,600 relatively healthy people over the age of 60 in April.