The BCG hypothesis is validated by the Israel COVID-19 death tolls.

Though most of the papers coming out are positive, there comes out a paper that is negative about the BCG hypothesis from Israel.

SARS-CoV-2 Rates in BCG-Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Young Adults

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766182

There are two disappointing points in this paper.

  1. This paper doesn't use deaths but cases, which is heavily dependent on testing policy and accuracy.
  2. This paper compares those born between 1979 and 1981 and those born between 1983 and 1985. Surprisingly small cohort or I would say what a cherry-picking!
(Added on 16 May)
This paper says "Overall, the vaccine acceptance rate in Israel is high, with greater than 90% coverage.", but the actual BCG vaccination coverage ratio is 68-75% from 1980 to 1982 according to https://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A830?lang=en.



I do not think this paper worth reviewing because of the above two points, but let me analyze the situation in Israel to test the BCG hypothesis using the death tolls.

This paper states the BCG vaccine was routinely administered to all newborns in Israel as part of the national immunization program between 1955 and 1982.

-> Most of 38 to 65 years old Israel people were BCG vaccinated.

I categorize the age groups into 0-39 (non-BCG), 40-69 (mostly BCG), 70+ (non-BCG), and compare Israel with Italy where BCG vaccination has never been compulsory as I did for Spain and Portugal.



Firstly, the below chart is deaths per 1M population by the age group. You can see big differences between Italy and Israel in all age groups. 


The second chart is relative deaths per 1M pop by age group, setting 70+ death per 1M population to 100 to compare the age group difference relatively as most of 70+ in Israel or Italy have not been BCG vaccinated.

And the third chart is the one setting not only 70+=100 in both countries but also all age groups in the Italy =100. You can see a 40% drop in 40-69 Israeli!  Only 40-69 Israeli are mostly BCG vaccinated in this analysis.

By analyzing the Israel situation comparing with Italy, the BCG hypothesis is validated one more.

BTW, ultra-Orthodox Jews are anti-vaccination. Their communities have experienced huge spikes of COVID-19 in Israel or New York, such as 
38% of Bnei Brak’s roughly 200,000 mostly ultra-Orthodox inhabitants could be infected, significantly higher than the national average.


Calls to seal off ultra-Orthodox areas add to Israel's virus tensions

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/06/calls-to-seal-off-ultra-orthodox-areas-adds-tension-to-israels-virus-response

Ultra-Orthodox Jews make up 12% of Israel’s nine million citizens but the two large ultra-Orthodox bastions account for 37% of Israel’s virus deaths.


Two ultra-Orthodox bastions account for 37% of Israel’s virus deaths

https://www.timesofisrael.com/two-ultra-orthodox-bastions-account-for-37-of-israels-virus-deaths/

Then, there could be a cheap conspiracy theory that the authors of the paper are anti-vaccination and/or ultra-Orthodox Jews.


Sources (all accessed on 14 May):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Italy#By_gender_and_age
https://www.science.co.il/medical/coronavirus/Death-statistics.php
https://www.populationpyramid.net/

Comments

  1. To me, this research doesn't seem related to the main thesis, which is, that BCG vaccination helps the innate immune system and thus helps stop the SPREAD of covid-19. The point is that individuals born in 1980 and 1985 mix on the streets and everywhere, and the net effect in Israel is that certain percentage of overall population is vaccinated. We should see a tendency that total number of infections would be skewed towards those not vaccinated (b. after 1982.) The problem is only people who are already confirmed sick are included. Once you're sick enough to get tested, maybe you're one of the unlucky ones for whom the vaccine personally didn't work (although, maybe it helped you stop spreading it to others faster.) Another difficuly in Israel is a big number of immigrants from Eastern Europe, where vaccination is still administered, but there are different strains used... A better way would be maybe to analyze households of people vaccinated vs. not vaccinated and see if there are higher % of symptom-free family members in vaccinated families. Looking only at ultra-orthodox people won't help, they are anti-vaccination but they also keep going to group prayers from what I've heard, so better to exclude them from this study altogether. That's just my two cents, and I'm not a medical professional (I'm math+engineering.)

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