TUESDAY, Aug. 16, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The multidose Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine offers protection against COVID-19 infection among COVID-19-unvaccinated individuals with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in Cell Reports Medicine.

Denise L. Faustman, M.D., Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues evaluated the safety and efficacy of the multidose BCG vaccine for preventing COVID-19 and other infectious diseases among an at-risk cohort of COVID-19-unvaccinated individuals with type 1 diabetes. A total of 144 individuals were enrolled: 96 and 48 were randomly assigned to BCG and placebo, respectively. During the 15-month trial, there were no drop-outs.

The researchers found that the cumulative incidence of meeting the criteria for COVID-19 was 12.5 and 1.0 percent among placebo-treated and BCG vaccine-treated participants, respectively, resulting in an efficacy of 92 percent. Fewer infectious disease symptoms and less severity were seen in the BCG group, and there were fewer infectious disease events per patient, including COVID-19. No BCG vaccine-related systemic adverse events were reported.

“The BCG vaccine effectively protects against COVID-19 and provides broad infectious disease protection as now tested with a formal double-blinded and randomized clinical trial,” the authors write. “Also the BCG vaccine is safe, effective, affordable, and potentially protective against ever-changing viral variants of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on its broad-based protection against other infections.”

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