A survey conducted in five countries, including Brazil, will investigate whether it is possible to predict who remains susceptible to coronavirus variants, even after receiving a vaccine or contracting it with COVID-19. Led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia, and in collaboration with Vucruz in Brazil, this will be an alternative study to Press Research, which began last year to investigate whether the BCG vaccine had any mitigating effect on the novel coronavirus.
About seven thousand health professionals are monitored in these five countries, including 2,600 Brazilians. With the emergence of new variants, to which immune responses after infection or a vaccine may not be effective, scientists decided to take advantage of this large network of volunteers and expand the work.
Margaret Dalcolmo, a researcher at Fucruz, explains that the study will also analyze whether BCG improves the immune response to the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and CoronaVac vaccines, which are already being implemented in the country.
The BCG vaccine is one of the most widely used vaccines in the world, and is administered annually to approximately 120 million newborns. In Brazil, it has been part of the primary children’s calendar since the 1970s. An investigation into its relationship to covid-19 has begun because, in addition to preventing dangerous forms of tuberculosis, it can also protect against other infections, without specification. Clinical trials conducted in Greece, Guinea-Bissau, and South Africa have shown reductions in deaths and hospitalizations due to various respiratory problems associated with the vaccine.