BCG corona elderly

Clinical Trial

Respiratory infections



Start:  01 April 2020

End:  31 March 2021

BCG corona elderly

Radboudumc is working with UMC Utrecht to investigate whether a vaccine against tuberculosis (BCG vaccine) in the elderly (60+) reduces the risk of infection with the corona virus, or whether it reduces the severity of the symptoms if an infection does occur.

In total 1,600 elderly people participate in the study. Half of the participants in the study will receive the vaccine, the other half will not.

The corona virus appears to make elderly people seriously ill. They are also at the highest risk of dying from the infection. At the moment there is no specific vaccine against the coronavirus or another way to protect the elderly against the infection. Previous research has shown that the BCG vaccine not only protects against tuberculosis, but can also increase resistance to some other pathogens.

Participants: 1600
Academic hospitals: 2

Scientific research

However, it has not yet been established whether the BCG vaccine can also provide (some) protection against the coronavirus. To determine whether it works or not, this study is now being conducted in 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 influence of the BCG vaccine on the corona virus that is being carried out by Radboudumc and UMC Utrecht. The first study was specifically aimed at healthcare workers. This 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. In this study among the elderly, BCG vaccine is used that was ordered by hospitals directly through RIVM. The research has no consequences for the availability of the vaccine for regular use by the GGDs.