Tuberculosis vaccine could reduce coronavirus deaths: US study

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Tuberculosis(TB) vaccine could be playing a role in reducing the coronavirus death rate in countries where it is being used says a recent study by US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The researchers after collating data from various countries found that Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Pernambuco in Brazil, Mexico City in Mexico had lower COVID-19 death rates than New York, Illinois, Louisiana, and Florida in the United States.

The research found that the death rate from coronavirus was 2.9 times higher among people from former West Germany than those in former East Germany because the East Germans under the former Soviet Union were administered the BCG vaccine a decade earlier than West Germans. The research, therefore, estimated that a 10 percent increase in TB vaccine could lead to a 10 percent reduction in deaths from coronavirus.

TB is a treatable disease that attacks a patients’ lungs and it is estimated that it infects 10 million people every year. The TB vaccine is also used widely used in South Asian countries including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

However, the disease also kills people, according to the World Health Organization(WHO), in 2018, it killed around 1.5 million people.

Coronavirus which is a viral infection often leads to lung problems.

Experts were earlier puzzled with India’s low death rate despite the rising number of cases. In April, newswire AFP  had quoted virologist T. Jacob John saying that a young population and the possible positive effects of the BCG tuberculosis vaccine may be the reason for India’s relatively low death toll.