Cedars-Sinai

Study: TB Vaccine Linked to Lower Risk of Contracting COVID-19

Cedars-Sinai Research Raises Possibility That a Century-Old Vaccine May Be Useful Against Coronavirus

Newswise — LOS ANGELES (Nov. 20, 2020) -- A widely used tuberculosis vaccine is associated with reduced likelihood of contracting COVID-19 (coronavirus), according to a new study by Cedars-Sinai. The findings raise the possibility that a vaccine already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may help prevent coronavirus infections or reduce severity of the disease.

The vaccine, known as Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), was developed between1908 and 1921 and is administered to more than 100 million children around the world every year. In the U.S., it is FDA-approved as a drug to treat bladder cancer and as a vaccine for people at high risk of contracting TB. The BCG vaccine is currently being tested in multiple clinical trials worldwide for effectiveness against COVID-19.

In the new study, published online Nov. 19 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, investigators tested the blood of more than 6,000 healthcare workers in the Cedars-Sinai Health System for evidence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and also asked them about their medical and vaccination histories.

They found that workers who had received BCG vaccinations in the past-nearly 30% of those studied-were significantly less likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in their blood or to report having had infections with coronavirus or coronavirus-associated symptoms over the prior six months than those who had not received BCG. These effects were not related to whether workers had received meningococcal, pneumococcal or influenza vaccinations.

The reasons for the lower SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels in the BCG group were not clear, according to Moshe Arditi, MD, director of the Pediatric and Infectious Diseases and Immunology Division at Cedars-Sinai and co-senior author of the study.

"It appears that BCG-vaccinated individuals either may have been less sick and therefore produced fewer anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, or they may have mounted a more efficient cellular immune response against the virus," said Arditi, professor of Pediatrics and Biomedical Sciences. "We were interested in studying the BCG vaccine because it has long been known to have a general protective effect against a range of bacterial and viral diseases other than TB, including neonatal sepsis and respiratory infections. 

In the new study, the lower antibody levels in the BCG group persisted despite the fact that these individuals had higher frequencies of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and COPD, which are known risk factors for being more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and developing the more severe forms of COVID-19 illness.

While noting that no one believes BCG will be more effective than a specific vaccine for COVID-19, Arditi explained that it could be more quickly approved and made available, given that it has a strong safety profile demonstrated by many years of use. "It is a potentially important bridge that could offer some benefit until we have the most effective and safe COVID19 vaccines made widely available," he said.

"Given our findings, we believe that large, randomized clinical trials are urgently needed to confirm whether BCG vaccination can induce a protective effect against SARS-CoV2 infection," said Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, MMSc, associate professor of Cardiology and director of Public Health Research at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai. She was the other co-senior author of the study. The first author was Magali Noval Rivas, PhD, assistant professor of Pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai.

In fact, a number of randomized clinical trials have been launched to study the potential protective effects of BCG vaccination against COVID-19. Along with Texas A&M University, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Cedars Sinai is a site for the U.S. arm of this ongoing trial, which is recruiting hundreds of healthcare workers. Arditi serves as the principal investigator of this clinical trial at Cedars-Sinai.

"It would it be wonderful if one of the oldest vaccines that we have could help defeat the world's newest pandemic," Arditi said.

Funding: Research reported in this publication was supported by Cedars Sinai, the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number U54 CA26059 and the Erika J. Glazer Family Foundation.

Read more in Discoveries magazine: On the Front Lines of COVID-19



Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5827
Newswise: Data and Safety Review Board Reports How it Monitored the COVID-19 Vaccine Trials
Released: 15-Jun-2021 2:55 PM EDT
Data and Safety Review Board Reports How it Monitored the COVID-19 Vaccine Trials
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Evaluation of three vaccine candidates during the COVID-19 pandemic fell to 12 experts of the federally appointed COVID-19 Vaccine Data and Safety Monitoring Board. This team has now taken the unusual step of publishing details of their review process in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Released: 15-Jun-2021 1:55 PM EDT
NCCN Policy Summit Explores How COVID-19 Pandemic Can Lead to Improvements in Cancer Care
National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®)

NCCN Policy Summit examines the impact of the past year on oncology policy in the U.S., such as resuming recommended screening and clinical trials, applying health innovations from the COVID-19 pandemic to cancer treatment, and addressing systemic inequalities that lead to disparities in outcomes.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 17-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 15-Jun-2021 1:20 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 17-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 15-Jun-2021 1:05 PM EDT
Common cold combats COVID-19
Yale University

Exposure to the rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of the common cold, can protect against infection by the virus which causes COVID-19, Yale researchers have found.

Released: 15-Jun-2021 11:55 AM EDT
Researchers Develop More Reliable Rapid Tests for COVID-19
University of Maryland Medical Center

Researchers Develop More Reliable Rapid Tests for COVID-19 Public Release Date: 15-Jun-2021 00:00:00 US Eastern Time (24hr) Research News Release Contact Person: Deborah Kotz Contact Phone: 410-706-4255 Contact E-mail: Journal: Nature Protocols DOI: 10.1038/s41596-021-00546-w Funder: Grant Number(s): Meeting: Primary Keyword: Medicine/Health Keywords: Medicine/Health -> Diagnostics Medicine/Health -> Infectious/Emerging Diseases Subtitle: Tests Use Innovative Techniques That Improve Accuracy Rivaling Gold Standard PCR Test Summary: Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have developed two rapid diagnostic tests for COVID-19 that are nearly as accurate as the gold-standard test currently used in laboratories. Unlike the gold standard test, which extracts RNA and uses it to amplify the DNA of the virus, these new tests can detect the presence of the virus in as little as five minutes using different methods.

Newswise: SARS-CoV-2 Worldwide Replication Drives Rapid Rise and Selection of Mutations
Released: 15-Jun-2021 11:40 AM EDT
SARS-CoV-2 Worldwide Replication Drives Rapid Rise and Selection of Mutations
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

The number of COVID-19 variants is growing rapidly, so much that the scale and scope of mutation may pose a threat to the continuing successful use of the current vaccines and therapies. The findings, by an international team that includes University of California researchers, are being published in the June edition of the peer-reviewed journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. The pace of variation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus strains makes plain the threat that rapidly evolving new strains might give rise to escape variants, capable of limiting the efficacy of vaccines, therapies, and diagnostic tests.

Newswise:Video Embedded what-makes-us-sneeze
VIDEO
14-Jun-2021 5:20 PM EDT
What makes us sneeze?
Washington University in St. Louis

What exactly triggers a sneeze? A team led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has identified, in mice, specific cells and proteins that control the sneeze reflex. Better understanding of what causes us to sneeze — specifically how neurons behave in response to allergens and viruses — may point to treatments capable of slowing the spread of infectious respiratory diseases.

Newswise: Virtual Event For June 17, 11AM EDT: COVID-19 Vaccines and Male Fertility
Released: 15-Jun-2021 8:55 AM EDT
Virtual Event For June 17, 11AM EDT: COVID-19 Vaccines and Male Fertility
Newswise

This upcoming JAMA-published study examined whether the COVID-19 vaccine impacts male fertility.

14-Jun-2021 11:40 AM EDT
Rapid exclusion of COVID-19 infection using AI, EKG technology
Mayo Clinic

Artificial intelligence (AI) may offer a way to accurately determine that a person is not infected with COVID-19. An international retrospective study finds that infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, creates subtle electrical changes in the heart. An AI-enhanced EKG can detect these changes and potentially be used as a rapid, reliable COVID-19 screening test to rule out COVID-19 infection.


Showing results

110 of 5827

close
1.5622