What is it about?

As the number of infections and mortalities from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to rise, the development of an effective therapy against COVID-19 becomes ever more urgent. A few reports showing a positive correlation between BCG vaccination and reduced COVID-19 mortality have ushered in some hope. BCG has been suggested to confer a broad level of nonspecific protection against several pathogens, mainly via eliciting “trained immunity” in innate immune cells. Secondly, BCG has also been proven to provide benefits in autoimmune diseases by inducing tolerogenicity. Being an acute inflammatory disease, COVID-19 requires a therapy that induces early priming of anti-viral immune responses and regulates aberrant hyperactivity of innate-immune cells. Here, we hypothesize that BCG can offer reliable spatiotemporal protection from COVID-19 by triggering trained immunity and tolerogenesis, through multiple cellular pathways.

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Why is it important?

In view of the growing COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to explore strategies that are safe and time tested, before the vaccines against the virus become available for the masses.

Perspectives

We propose further research on BCG-mediated immunoprotection, especially in vulnerable individuals, as a strategy to halt the progress of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

NARESH SACHDEVA
Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research

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This page is a summary of: Can BCG vaccine protect against COVID‐19 via trained immunity and tolerogenesis?, BioEssays, November 2020, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/bies.202000200.
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