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Comprehensive News & Analysis

06-09-2021 | 15:47 PM

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) Vaccination 

Context: 100 years have passed since the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine was introduced to combat tuberculosis (TB) in 1921. 

About BCG Vaccine 

• Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine is a vaccine primarily used against tuberculosis (TB). 

• BCG was developed by modifying a strain of Mycobacterium Bovis (that causes TB in cattle). It was first used in humans in 1921. 

• Currently, BCG is the only licensed vaccine available for the prevention of TB. 

• In India, BCG was first introduced on a limited scale in 1948 and became a part of the National TB Control Programme in 1962. 

• In children, BCG provides strong protection against severe forms of TB. This protective effect is far more variable in adolescents and adults, ranging from 0–80%. 

• BCG also protects against respiratory and bacterial infections of newborns and other mycobacterial diseases like leprosy and Buruli’s ulcer. 

About Tuberculosis (TB) 

• TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, belonging to the Mycobacteriaceae family. 

• In humans, TB most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but it can also affect other organs (extra-pulmonary TB). 

• Unlike other historically dreaded diseases like smallpox, leprosy, plague, and cholera that have been either eradicated or controlled to a large extent, TB continues to be a major public health problem in the world. 

• According to the WHO’s Global TB Report, 10 million people developed TB in 2019 with 1.4 million deaths. India accounts for 27% of these cases.