A new study shows that the BCG vaccine may provide greater protection than was previously thought.
Research by Public Health England (PHE) showed that not only did the BCG protect children against developing the TB illness, but it could actually prevent them from becoming infected with TB after exposure to the bacteria.
The study showed that children who had been vaccinated were less likely than unvaccinated children to have evidence of the TB infection after exposure.
Dr Anjana Roy, PHE senior scientist and lead author said: “These results suggest a significant shift in our understanding of how anti mycobacterial vaccines work, and could indicate that not only does BCG vaccine protects against developing active TB disease, but that it also protects against getting infected.
“This finding will have implications for the use of BCG in current immunisation programmes as well as in the future development of new improved tuberculosis vaccines. It reinforces the recommendation that BCG should be given as soon as possible after birth to prevent children from getting infected.”
The research is published in the BMJ. Find out more