COVID-19: could BCG vaccine reduce impact of infection among nurses?

Volunteers needed to see if vaccination may ‘offer some protection against COVID-19’

Volunteers needed to see if vaccination may ‘offer some protection against COVID-19’

Trial participants will be given a BCG vaccine or placebo injection. Picture: YouTube

A trial to assess whether a BCG vaccination could help reduce the impact of COVID-19 in healthcare workers is recruiting front-line nurses in the UK.

The BRACE trial is a global research initiative between the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil. The UK portion of the research is being run by the University of Exeter.

The trial will examine whether the BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine, given to babies to protect against tuberculosis, can train the immune system to fight off a COVID-19 infection.

BRACE UK lead John Campbell. Picture: Twitter

‘We could save lives’ with the BCG vaccine

BRACE UK lead John Campbell, who is professor of general practice and primary care at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: ‘BCG has been shown to boost immunity in a generalised way, which may offer some protection against COVID-19.

‘If it does, we could save lives by administering or topping up this readily available and cost-effective vaccination.’

Trial in England may be expanded to other parts of UK

The BRACE UK trial will initially recruit 1,000 nurses and healthcare workers in the south west of England.

Participants will be given either the BCG vaccine or a placebo injection. They will then be asked to fill in a daily symptom diary via an app for 12 months, be tested for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms, and provide blood samples.

Preliminary findings from the trial are expected within six to nine months, and researchers said they plan to expand the trial to other parts of the UK within three to four months.

Find out more about the BRACE trail or register to take part

In other news