Ecological studies have suggested fewer COVID-19 morbidities and mortalities in Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG)-vaccinated countries than BCG-non-vaccinated countries. However, these studies obtained data during the early phase of the pandemic and did not adjust for potential confounders, including PCR-test numbers per population (PCR-tests). Currently—more than four months after declaration of the pandemic—the BCG-hypothesis needs reexamining. An ecological study was conducted by obtaining data of 61 factors in 173 countries, including BCG vaccine coverage (%), using morbidity and mortality as outcomes, obtained from open resources. ‘Urban population (%)’ and ‘insufficient physical activity (%)’ in each country was positively associated with morbidity, but not mortality, after adjustment for PCR-tests. On the other hand, recent BCG vaccine coverage (%) was negatively associated with mortality, but not morbidity, even with adjustment for percentage of the population ≥ 60 years of age, morbidity, PCR-tests and other factors. The results of this study generated a hypothesis that a national BCG vaccination program seems to be associated with reduced mortality of COVID-19, although this needs to be further examined and proved by randomized clinical trials.
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