Today marks the 100th anniversary of the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis: in total, it has saved one billion people in a century.
100 years ago, the terrible respiratory infection was not Kovid-19, but tuberculosis. And In July 1921, the first BCG vaccine was given to humans. BCG is named after Basil de Colmet et Gurin, its two French inventors, Dr. Albert Calmet and veterinarian Camille Gurin.
The most widely given vaccine in the world
BCG has saved hundreds of millions of lives (there is also debateOne billion humans In 100 years!) And will have tuberculosis, even if the disease has not completely disappeared and It still kills a million people every year worldwide.
It took Albert Calmet and Camille Gurin 20 years to make their vaccine. They first tested it on cattle. At that point, tuberculosis struck. In France, it is a question of 100,000 to 200,000 deaths per year. Two people have not filed a patent for their invention They wanted to give it to as many people as possible.
The vaccine is used in less and less affluent countries
The vaccine has changed Mandatory in France in the late 1940s And Deaths dropped immediately. Inexpensive, it is part of the “live attenuated” vaccines. It contains a live infectious agent, an attenuated strain of tubercle bacillus. It is especially helpful in preventing severe forms in young children.
Today it is less and less used in rich countries, because the disease has become so rare there, less than 10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
In France, It has not been mandatory in children since 2007 Vaccination is still recommended for target audiences.
And a vaccine that can fight other diseases
BCG is however topical because the spectrum of its action exceeds that of tuberculosis. Studies actually point to thatIt also protects against other infections, And Reduce some diseases Inflammatory and autoimmune disorders such as eczema, type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis.
For example in diabetes, An American study It shows that in a very small sample of nine patients it can at least partially restore insulin production. BCG too Already used in the treatment of bladder cancer And studies are now examining whether there is any benefit in protecting against Kovid-19.