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BCG Vaccination Linked to Lower SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence

Seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG lower for health care workers with history of BCG vaccination

TUESDAY, Nov. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) — History of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination is associated with decreased seroprevalence of anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunoglobulin G (IgG) among health care workers (HCWs), according to a study published online Nov. 19 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Magali Noval Rivas, Ph.D., from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and collected medical questionnaires, including BCG vaccination status and preexisting demographic and clinical characteristics, from an observational cohort of HCWs. Data were included for 6,201 HCWs in a multisite Los Angeles health care organization.

The researchers found that 29.6 percent of the HCWs reported a history of BCG vaccination and 68.9 percent did not receive BCG vaccination. Among HCWs with a history of BCG vaccination, seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and incidence of self-reported clinical symptoms associated with COVID-19 were significantly decreased compared with those without BCG vaccination. A history of BCG vaccination, but not meningococcal, pneumococcal, or influenza vaccination, was associated with reduced SARS-CoV-2 IgG seroconversion after adjustment for age and sex.

“Given our findings, we believe that large, randomized clinical trials are urgently needed to confirm whether BCG vaccination can induce a protective effect against SARS-CoV-2 infection,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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