In the global arsenal for nearly a century, the vaccine against tuberculosis could provide some protection against COVID-19, Euronews reports.
Researchers found that countries without universal Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccination (including Italy and the US) seem to be suffering more than countries with universal BCG policies, according to a preprint MedRxiv paper.
That could explain dramatic differences in country death tolls, including Spain with nearly 11,000 COVID-19 deaths and neighboring Portugal with just over 200, for example. Countries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with universal TB vaccination policies might be seeing less COVID-19 impact.
Australia has launched a trial to see whether TB vaccines could convey some protection.
Not Enough Anti in Antibodies
Many countries are embarking on antibody testing to allow people return to work. But some patients discharged from a Shanghai hospital show surprisingly low levels of antibodies, according to new research from China’s Fudan University, casting doubt on their level of protection, South China Morning Post reports. Nearly a third of 175 patients tests had low levels; some showed no antibodies at all, according to their preliminary findings published onMedrxiv.org.
“Vaccine developers may need to pay particular attention to these patients,” says Huang Jinghe, who led the study—because if the actual virus fails to induce enough of an antibody response, a vaccine’s weakened version could fail for some people, too.