Effects of Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccination during COVID-19 infection.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the infection of highly contagious severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), also known as the novel coronavirus. In most countries, the containment of this virus spread is not controlled, which is driving the pandemic towards a more difficult phase. In this study, we investigated the impact of the Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccination on the severity and mortality of COVID-19 by performing transcriptomic analyses of SARS-CoV-2 infected and BCG vaccinated samples in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). A set of common differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified and seeded into their functional enrichment analyses via Gene Ontology (GO)-based functional terms and pre-annotated molecular pathways databases, and their Protein-Protein Interaction (PPI) network analysis. We further analysed the regulatory elements, possible comorbidities and putative drug candidates for COVID-19 patients who have not been BCG-vaccinated. Differential expression analyses of both BCG-vaccinated and COVID-19 infected samples identified 62 shared DEGs indicating their discordant expression pattern in their respected conditions compared to control. Next, PPI analysis of those DEGs revealed 10 hub genes, namely ITGB2, CXCL8, CXCL1, CCR2, IFNG, CCL4, PTGS2, ADORA3, TLR5 and CD33. Functional enrichment analyses found significantly enriched pathways/GO terms including cytokine activities, lysosome, IL-17 signalling pathway, TNF-signalling pathways. Moreover, a set of identified TFs, miRNAs and potential drug molecules were further investigated to assess their biological involvements in COVID-19 and their therapeutic possibilities. Findings showed significant genetic interactions between BCG vaccination and SARS-CoV-2 infection, suggesting an interesting prospect of the BCG vaccine in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope it may potentially trigger further research on this critical phenomenon to combat COVID-19 spread.

Computers in biology and medicine. 2021 Sep 29 [Epub ahead of print]

Utpala Nanda Chowdhury, Md Omar Faruqe, Md Mehedy, Shamim Ahmad, M Babul Islam, Watshara Shoombuatong, A K M Azad, Mohammad Ali Moni

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh., Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh., Center of Data Mining and Biomedical Informatics, Faculty of Medical Technology, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand., Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology, Swinburne University of Technology Sydney, Australia., School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia. Electronic address: .

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