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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4046/trd.2020.0063    [Accepted]
Published online September 4, 2020.
COVID-19 death and BCG vaccination programs worldwide
Feras J Jirjees, 1, Yahya H Dallal Bashi, 2, Hala J. Al-Obaidi, 2
1College of Pharmacy, University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
2School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
Correspondence:  Feras J Jirjees,
Email: fjirjees@sharjah.ac.ae
Received: 18 June 2020   • Revised: 14 August 2020   • Accepted: 4 September 2020
*Feras J Jirjees and Yahya H Dallal Bashi contributed equally to this study as co-first authors.
Abstract
Several clinical trials are being conducted worldwide to investigate the protective effect of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine against death in healthcare providers who are working directly with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Clinical studies suggested that certain live vaccines, particularly BCG vaccine, could reduce the mortality due to other diseases caused by non-targeted pathogens, most probably through what is known as non-specific effects (heterologous effects). The most recent available information on the COVID-19 pandemic indicated the great effect of BCG vaccine in reducing the number of COVID-19 death cases. The occurrence of death due to COVID-19 was found to be 21-fold lower in countries with a national BCG vaccination policy than in countries without such a policy, based on the medians of COVID-19 death case per 1 million of population in these two groups of countries (P<0.0001, Mann-Whitney test). Therefore, it can be concluded that the early establishment of BCG vaccination policy in any country is a key element in reducing the number of COVID-19 and tuberculosis death cases.
Key Words: COVID-19 pandemic, BCG vaccine, COVID-19 death cases, coronavirus, COVID-19 mortality
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