In the urgent quest for a coronavirus treatment, scientists are exploring existing medicines, in addition to new solutions, that can prevent COVID-19.
A recent preliminary study found that nations with mandatory tuberculosis vaccines show fewer coronavirus deaths.
As a result, researchers are examining the treatment, known as the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin vaccine, or BCG vaccine.
The BCG vaccine prevents tuberculosis by boosting the body’s immune system. It has been associated with reduced risk of various bacterial, parasitic and viral infections, reports Fast Company.
Countries that mandate the BCG vaccine, like Japan and South Korea, have reported markedly lower infection rates than countries without universal vaccination orders, like Italy and the U.S.
While the implications are important, especially for people more susceptible to the virus, it is unclear at the moment whether the connection between the BCG vaccines and coronavirus are correlational or causal.
Studies to find this out are underway in countries including the Netherlands, Australia and the U.S., where the vaccine is being administered to healthcare workers. But results won’t be available for 3 to 4 months.
Last week, researchers at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine announced a potential vaccine for coronavirus — one that had been effective on mice when delivered through a patch on the skin. Scientists are awaiting approval from the FDA for expedited human trials.