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Can Tuberculosis Vaccine Help COVID-19 Patients Recover Faster? More Studies Required, says DOH

"Let us wait for adequate scientific evidence."
by Cheska Santiago
Aug 31, 2020
Photo/s: Gustavo Fring/Pexels

As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise in countries throughout the world, scientists and pharmaceutical companies scramble to create a vaccine.

Just recently, studies have come out that claim countries that used Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), the vaccine for tuberculosis, had a lower mortality rate for the coronavirus disease. Last month, research from Virginia Polytechnic Institute stated that BCG appears to enhance immunity against respiratory infections. A similar study from Israel noted that the said vaccine can provide immunity against COVID-19.

According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, more studies would have to be conducted. "Sa ngayon wala pang sapat na evidence that would say na BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine) would have this good effect for COVID-19," she stated during a virtual briefing.

She also pointed out that the studies published about possible COVID-19 treatments and vaccines do not mean that they are already approved for the public. "Let us wait for adequate evidence, scientific evidence, let us wait for the results of these studies that are being undertaken," she said.

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As of now, though, the BCG vaccine is still being administered to children to prevent tuberculosis, she noted.

According to the World Health Organization, around one million Filipinos have active tuberculosis disease. It is the third-highest prevalence rate in the world, right after South Africa and Lesotho. Even though it is a curable illness, more than 70 people perish to TB every day.

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