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UMC Utrecht – BCG Vaccine

Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is the live attenuated vaccine form of Mycobacterium bovis used to prevent tuberculosis as well as other mycobacterial infections such as leprosy. The vaccine is also used to treat superficial carcinoma of the bladder [1, 2].

Due to its ability to reduce child mortality (which is not necessarily associated with tuberculosis prevention), it is part of the vaccination schedule in many countries.

It is hypothesized that BCG vaccination is linked to a less severe manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 in the countries that have it on their regular vaccination schedules. In a study preprint published on, a research group states that BCG vaccination is a potential new tool in the fight against COVID-19 [3].

UMC Utrecht has organized BCG-Corona, a Phase 3, randomized, controlled trial with 1500 participants to determine if BCG vaccination could have a protective effect and reduce health care workers’ absenteeism during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic [4]. Primary results are expected in October 2020, and full results are expected in December 2020.


  1. Yamazaki-Nakashimada, M. A., Unzueta, A., Berenise Gámez-González, L., González-Saldaña, N., & Sorensen, R. U. (2020). BCG: a vaccine with multiple faces. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 1-10.
  2. Merle, C. S., Cunha, S. S., & Rodrigues, L. C. (2010). BCG vaccination and leprosy protection: review of current evidence and status of BCG in leprosy control. Expert review of vaccines, 9(2), 209-222.
  3. Correlation between universal BCG vaccination policy and reduced morbidity and mortality for COVID-19: an epidemiological study
  4. Reducing health care workers absenteeism in SARS-CoV-2 pandemic by enhanced trained immune responses through Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination, a randomized controlled trial