Publicação: 16 de setembro de 2020
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As evidence grows that a century-old tuberculosis vaccine can protect against respiratory infections, the Netherlands will begin testing it on thousands of frail elderly people who are at elevated risk in the coronavirus pandemic.
Two new studies point to promising results for the bacillus Calmette-Guerin shot, or BCG, against Covid-19, though research evaluating the vaccine’s direct potential against the new virus is months away from publishing results.
One study, led by Mihai Netea of Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, shows that elderly people who were vaccinated with BCG are 80% less likely than those without shots to get a respiratory tract infection. Another in a group of hospital workers in the United Arab Emirates shows those who got the shot didn’t catch Covid-19, unlike an unvaccinated control group.
The Dutch project, which starts this week, aims to recruit as many as 7,000 elderly patients over the next two months, with results expected in six months at the most, said Netea, who’s leading it along with Marc Bonten from the University Medical Center in Utrecht. As drugmakers’ efforts to develop vaccines against the new coronavirus are still months from delivering, the older shot may help bridge the gap and protect those most at risk against severe infection.
“We hope this would help us take a decision regarding the pandemic before the end of the year,” Netea said in a telephone interview.