Led by Professor Nigel Curtis, Researchers at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute are conducting a randomised controlled clinical trial of the BCG vaccine against COVID-19. The study, known as the BRACE trial (BCG vaccination to Reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Australian healthcare workers following Coronavirus Exposure), has been endorsed by the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Designed to provide protection against tuberculosis, the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine may also potentially provide immunity to protect against other infections. The purpose of the BRACE trial is to investigate whether or not BCG vaccination protects against COVID-19 or reduces the severity of symptoms of COVID-19 in healthcare workers.
This has led to people who do not meet the criteria for the trial seeking to have the BCG vaccine.
MVEC and physician BCG experts, have reached a consensus position on this issue, as detailed below:
|We strongly advise against anyone having BCG outside of a clinical trial, unless they meet criteria as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook tuberculosis guidelines.|
BCG vaccine is known to be effective in protecting young children from tuberculosis, and has been affected by global shortages in recent years. Using a vaccine (like BCG), for a non-proven use, carries risks to those vaccinated and those who prescribe it. Furthermore, additional use of BCG vaccine outside a trial, could lead to shortages for infants who need it to protect against tuberculosis. Many travel clinics providing BCG have been placed on-hold due to the current limitations on overseas travel. However, travel and hospital-based BCG clinics will aim to increase access to the vaccine when travel restrictions (including to tuberculosis endemic countries) are lifted.
- Dr Nigel Curtis, Dr Nigel Crawford, Dr Jim Buttery, Dr Shidan Tosif, Dr Daryl Cheng and Dr Teresa Lazzaro
-8th April 2020
- MCRI: BCG vaccination to Reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Australian healthcare workers following Coronavirus Exposure (BRACE) Trial
- MCRI: Murdoch Children’s Research Institute to trial preventative vaccine for COVID-19 healthcare workers
- MVEC: BCG vaccine (including BCG clinics in Victoria)
- Australian Immunisation Handbook: Tuberculosis