Apr 16: What is the effect of the TB vaccine on corona in the elderly?

Apr 16: What is the effect of the TB vaccine on corona in the elderly?

Can a tuberculosis vaccine reduce the risk of acquiring a coronavirus infection or reduce the severity of symptoms? UMC Utrecht is investigating this together with Radboudumc. A similar study with the TB vaccine was recently started in health care workers. The second study now starts with the effect in people over sixty years. 1600 elderly people can participate in the study.

The coronavirus appears to affect especially the elderly. When having an infection, they are also at the highest risk of dying from it. At this time, there is not yet a specific vaccine that prevents against the coronavirus or any other way of protecting the elderly from the infection. Previous research has shown that the BCG vaccine (the vaccine that protects against TB) not only provides protection against tuberculosis, but can also increase defenses against some other pathogens.


However, it has not yet been established whether the BCG vaccine can also provide (some) protection against the coronavirus. To determine whether or not it works, a study is now being conducted on the elderly. The study should answer the question of whether the BCG vaccine protects against the coronavirus and/or reduces the severity of symptoms in the elderly. This is the second study into the effects of the BCG vaccine on the coronavirus that is being carried out by UMC Utrecht and Radboudumc. The first study was specifically aimed at healthcare workers. The current research focuses exclusively on the elderly.

The vaccine

BCG is the most widely administered vaccine in the world and is used in many countries to prevent tuberculosis. This means that the possible side effects are known. In this study among the elderly, BCG vaccine is used, which is ordered directly by the hospitals through the RIVM. The study has no consequences for the availability of the vaccine for regular use by the GGDs.

Sixty or older

People who want to participate in the study must be 60 years of age or older. More information about the research and participation can be obtained by sending an e-mail to: CoronaBCG60@umcutrecht.nl.

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