Laurent Lagrost, director of research at Inserm, was one of the first scientists to alert to the imminent arrival of the coronavirus epidemic in France. He is now wondering about the potential effectiveness of the BCG tuberculosis vaccine to fight the disease.

Scientists around the world are working to find a cure for the coronavirus. If the studies of Professor Didier Raoult on the use of chloroquine have been causing a stir for several days, other less media-based trials are being carried out all over the planet. Laurent Lagrost, director of research at Inserm, was one of the first to warn of the arrival of the coronavirus in France. He is currently working with Professor Didier Payen on a therapeutic solution capable of slowing down, even stopping, the epidemic.

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"Boost our immune system"

And the two scientists are on a track: the BCG vaccine, usually used against tuberculosis. "It is possible that this vaccine could boost our immune system," explains Laurent Lagrost. Because the exacerbated forms of Covid-19 come from an overly strong response from our immune defenses. According to him, the BCG vaccine could help our immune system to adapt and learn to fight against severe forms of infectious diseases.

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To verify these hypotheses, Laurent Lagrost calls on French practitioners: he asks them to check the patient files, in order to determine the state of coverage by the BCG of patients admitted to intensive care. If verified, this track could also explain why the youngest are less affected by the Covid-19. "BCG vaccination against tuberculosis administered to children confers an immune memory between 15 to 20 years. While vaccination of adults sometimes dates back to 40 years ...", he points out.


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While waiting to conduct and have access to more observations, Laurent Lagrost remains cautious and evokes for the moment a "reasonable lead", which, if verified, could well "support and protect" the nursing staff.