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11 October 2020 18:32

BCG) vaccine

Coronavirus latest: BCG vaccine could help protect adults against Covid-19

The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is usually administered to protect children from contracting tuberculosis, but a new study suggests it might also help protect against other infections, such as Covid-19. It was first developed in 1921, but research conducted by the University of Exeter has found evidence that it may train the immune system to respond to a wide-range of viruses. As a new trial begins to see whether or not the BCG vaccine could protect people from coronavirus, here's everything you need to know about it. A new study conducted by the University of Exeter found that the vaccine stimulates the immune system in a way that could mean it protects the body from other viruses in addition to TB. Professor John Campbell, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "Covid-19 has killed more than a million people globally, with well over 33 million people acquiring the disease, sometimes in its severest forms.

Now, the University of Exeter is taking part in a trial that will see the BCG vaccine given to 10,000 people globally. The study will look at whether the BCG vaccine reduces coronavirus infections or the severity of Covid-19 symptom. "We're excited to be contributing to the large-scale, international study where we are seeking to establish whether the BCG vaccine could help protect people who are at risk of Covid-19," added Professor Campbell. Coronavirus latest: BCG vaccine could help protect adults against Covid-19 If successful, the trial could be 'a global game-changer', says UK professor A vaccine usually administered to children to protect them against tuberculosis could help in the fight against the coronavirus. The University of Exeter is leading the UK arm of the trial and is set to recruit up to 2,000 community healthcare workers, including staff from care homes and GP surgeries.

While a successful outcome would not be the ultimate solution in the fight against coronavirus, it has the potential to protect front-line healthcare workers and "buy crucial time" until a more effective vaccine is found. Professor John Campbell at the University of Exeter Medical School said the vaccine would be a "global game-changer" if it helped prevent people from falling ill with the virus and passing it on to others. "If it does [work], we could save lives by administering or topping up this readily available and cost-effective vaccination," he said. The study is co-ordinated by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and has received more than 10 million US dollars (£7.6 million) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund the project globally. Healthcare workers and care home workers are those who could potentially be helped if the trial is successful (Photo: AFP) Volunteers will be taken from healthcare professionals working with high exposure to Covid-19 in the southwest who are able to attend clinics in Exeter.

Professor Campbell said: "People on the Covid-19 front line, including healthcare workers and care home workers, are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus infection. He added: "I'd really encourage care home staff to join us, to help us find out if the BCG vaccine might provide a safe, widely available and cost-effective way to reduce the risk of Covid-19." News of the trial comes as England's deputy chief medical officer warns that the UK's coronavirus pandemic has reached "tipping point", with a similar infection rate to what was recorded when the nation was placed under lockdown in March. A vaccine usually given to protect children from tuberculosis could help adults fight against coronavirus, according to researchers. The University of Exeter is leading the UK arm of the trial and will soon recruit healthcare staff and care home workers in the UK. Professor John Campbell, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "Covid-19 has killed more than a million people globally, with well over 33 million people acquiring the disease, sometimes in its severest forms.

"We're excited to be contributing to the large-scale, international study where we are seeking to establish whether the BCG vaccine could help protect people who are at risk of Covid-19. Previous studies suggest that the BCG vaccine could reduce susceptibility to a range of infections caused by viruses including those similar to the novel coronavirus causing Covid-19. The trial is recruiting care and healthcare workers in the south west of England, who can attend clinics in Exeter. They are looking at whether the BCG vaccine reduces coronavirus infection or Covid-19 symptom severity. Prof Campbell added: "People on the Covid-19 front line, including healthcare workers and care home workers, are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus infection.

"I'd really encourage care home staff to join us, to help us find out if the BCG vaccine might provide a safe, widely available and cost-effective way to reduce the risk of Covid-19." LONDON (Reuters) - The widely used BCG tuberculosis vaccine will be tested on frontline care workers in Britain for its effectiveness against COVID-19, researchers running the UK arm of a global trial said. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, used to protect against tuberculosis, induces a broad innate immune-system response and has been shown to protect against infection or severe illness with other respiratory pathogens. "BCG has been shown to boost immunity in a generalised way, which may offer some protection against COVID-19," Professor John Campbell, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said. "We are seeking to establish whether the BCG vaccine could help protect people who are at risk of COVID-19. The BCG vaccine is also being tested as a protection against COVID-19 in South Africa. The trial's UK arm, which is being run from Exeter, southwest England, is seeking to recruit 1,000 people who work in care homes and community healthcare nearby. Scientists in the UK will begin recruiting frontline healthcare workers to test if an old vaccine used to combat tuberculosis (TB), the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin or BCG jab, can be repurposed to help boost immunity against the novel coronavirus as well.The University of Exeter in south-west England said on Sunday that it is leading the UK arm of the worldwide research called the BCG vaccination to Reduce the impact of COVID-19 in healthcare workers (BRACE) trial.Participants will be given either the BCG vaccine, currently given to more than 100 million babies worldwide each year, including in India, to protect against TB, or a placebo injection.The BCG vaccine boosts immunity by "training" the immune system to respond to other subsequent infections with greater intensity. Researchers hope this improved "innate immunity" will buy crucial time to develop an effective and safe vaccine against COVID-19."COVID-19 has killed more than a million people globally, with well over 33 million people acquiring the disease, sometimes in its severest forms. BCG has been shown to boost immunity in a generalised way, which may offer some protection against COVID-19," said Professor John Campbell from Exeter University, who is the UK lead for the BRACE study."We're excited to be contributing to the large-scale, international BRACE study where we are seeking to establish whether the BCG vaccine could help protect people who are at risk of COVID-19. If it does, we could save lives by administering or topping up this readily available and cost-effective vaccination," he said.In the UK, routine BCG vaccination - which dates as far back as the 1920s - was stopped in 2005 because of low rates of TB in the general population.Previous studies suggest that the BCG vaccine could reduce susceptibility to a range of infections caused by viruses including those similar to the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19. Examining the mechanism by which this may work is part of the trial being conducted by BRACE researchers.The UK arm of trial is initially recruiting care home and healthcare workers in the south-west of England, who can attend clinics in Exeter. It is targeting these professionals because they work in fields with high exposure to COVID-19 and is specifically looking at whether the BCG vaccine reduces coronavirus infection or COVID-19 symptom severity.Prof. Campbell added: "People on the COVID-19 frontline, including healthcare workers and care home workers, are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus infection.