Fighting the Flu: Surprising Power of a Century-Old Vaccine (BCG) for Tuberculosis

As Canada’s flu season collides with record strep A cases and ongoing COVID-19 concerns, a new study is shedding light on our understanding of respiratory immune responses. Scholars from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) have discovered a surprising facet about a century-old vaccine for tuberculosis, Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG). The study, published January 15, 2024 in Nature Immunology, uncovered a previously unknown mechanism that extends the vaccine’s shield to combat influenza A virus—the most prevalent flu strain. The article is titled “BCG Immunization Induces CX3CR1hi Effector Memory T Cells to Provide Cross-Protection Via IFN-γ-Mediated Trained Immunity.”
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