Review: SARS-CoV-2 rates in BCG-vaccinated and unvaccinated young adults

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Review: SARS-CoV-2 rates in BCG-vaccinated and unvaccinated young adults

Review: SARS-CoV-2 rates in BCG-vaccinated and unvaccinated young adults

This study found no difference in rates of positive SARS-CoV-2 test results in adults who received BCG vaccination in childhood compared to those who did not. 

  • The BCG vaccine was routinely administered to all newborns in Israel as part of the national immunization program between 1955 and 1982, with high uptake, then was not given to Israeli-born indivituals
  • Had data on the 72,060 COVID-19 results performed in country from March 1 to April 5, 2020, all from approved laboratories. Groups divided into those born from 1979 to 1981 (aged 39-41 years- the BCG group) with those born from 1983 to 1985 (aged 35-37 years- the non-BCG group).
  • Study included 3064 patients in the presumed BCG group and 2869 patients in the presumed non-BCG group
  • There was no statistically significant difference in:
    • proportion of positive test results in the BCG-vaccinated group (361 [11.7%]) vs the unvaccinated group (299 [10.4%]; difference, 1.3%; 95% CI, −0.3% to 2.9%; P =0.09)
    • positivity rates per 100 000 (121 in vaccinated group vs 100 in unvaccinated group; difference, 21 per 100 000; 95% CI, −10 to 50 per 100 000; P = 0.15)
  • 1 case of severe disease (mechanical ventilation or intensive care unit admission) in each group
  • No deaths were reported

Summary: While there are multiple limitations to this study, it does not support the idea that BCG vaccination in childhood has a protective effect against COVID-19 in adulthood.

|2020-05-15T11:32:59-04:00May 14th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Megan McHenry

Megan McHenry
Megan S. McHenry, MD, MS, FAAP is a pediatrician and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Disease and Global Health at Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. McHenry's research focuses on early childhood development in children living in resource-limited settings. This work is frequently aligned with community-engaged research and dissemination and implementation science frameworks. She primarily conducts research in collaboration with the Academic Model for Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) Research Network in Kenya. Dr. McHenry currently has a career development award through the National Institutes of Health to develop a neurodevelopmental screening program for children born to HIV-infected mothers in Kenya. Dr. McHenry is also the Director of Pediatric Global Health Education and a co-Director of the Morris Green Physician-Scientist Development Program at Indiana University School of Medicine. In additional to global health lectures, she also educates residents and students on early childhood development, basic biostatistical techniques, research methodologies, and research ethics. She mentors multiple pediatric fellows, residents, and medical students interested in early childhood development within global contexts.

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