A recent study of researchers at the New York Institute of Technology led by Gonzalo Otazu pointed out that countries such as India, China, and Brazil have lower COVID-19 cases and even lower deaths due to their universal vaccine system Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). The BCG vaccine is a cost-effective vaccination provided to children to prevent meningitis and TB. The study explains that Low and middle-income countries that have continued the BCG’s universal immunization program have shown a lower mortality rate of COVID-19 infections whereas high-income countries such as the United States, the Netherlands, and Italy have discontinued the vaccine have much higher cases.
However Dr.Swaroop N, a public health specialist questions the reliability of the study and draws attention to the various glitches in the study:
- Countries like Australia and Germany also have lower cases and deaths and have no universal BCG immunization program.
- The resources, equipment, personnel, ICUs, ventilators, environment, and temperatures of health systems also play an important role in the spread and containment of an epidemic. And those variables have not been taken into account.
- Also, the unexplained innate immunity of people living in low-income countries comes into question when discussing what role it plays in safeguarding people from various diseases.
But based on a mere study, the institutions cannot start recommending the BCG vaccine programs. There needs to be a proper and collaborative epidemiology study and research on the connectivity of coronavirus and BCG virus. Dr. Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director, Senior Scientist at the Translational Health Science Technology Center, urges that this could divert scientists from seeking the true cure for coronavirus.
The doubtful relation between the BCG vaccine and COVID-19 is not fully explored and many scientists are advising to stop finding an easy silver bullet for the virus.