South Africa starts virus trial of TB vaccine May 05, 2020 0 110 12345 AFPCape TownHundreds of South African health workers were given a century-old tuberculosis vaccine on Monday in a trial to see whether the venerable formula can protect against coronavirus.Devised at France’s legendary Pasteur Institute 100 years ago, the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is one of the world’s oldest and most trusted immunisations.“We vaccinated (injected) the first participant this morning,” Duncan McDonald, head of business development and marketing at a clinical research organisation called TASK, told AFP. Trials started in Cape Town, where BCG booster shots were administered to 250 health care workers, while another 250 received a dummy formula, or placebo.“There are observations that this BCG vaccine does something to the immune system that we don’t really understand,” TASK founder professor Andreas Diacon said.Children immunised with BCG tend to suffer less from respiratory illnesses, including asthma, he said.“It makes the immune system cope better with respiratory retract infections,” said Diacon. “No one actually really understands why it works”. Diacon and his team want to determine whether BCG could have an effect on coronavirus by reducing the risk of infection or easing symptoms.“If you can reduce the (COVID-19) symptoms just a little, you will probably get people to survive this better or not even have to go to hospital or not even becoming ill,” said Diacon. In South Africa around 300,000 people catch TB each year -- one of the highest rates of infection in the world. Each year, 63,000 people die, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Iran reopens mosques, records almost 80,000 hospital recoveries May 05, 2020 0 433 Relief in Lagos as lockdown ends May 05, 2020 0 625 Assad warns of virus ‘catastrophe’ as Syria lockdown eases May 05, 2020 0 485 Kuwait breaks up ‘riot’ by Egyptian workers demanding repatriation Kuwait City Kuwaiti authorities dispersed a “riot” by Egyptian workers who demonstrated on Monday to demand repatriation amid the coronavirus crisis, state media said. Security forces intervened to halt “riots and .. Lebanon’s banned Hezbollah says not active in Germany AFP Beirut The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement on Monday condemned Germany’s ban on his group as bowing to US pressure and insisted it was not active in the country. Germany designated Hezbollah a “Shiite terrorist .. Bahrain opens second field hospital on man-made island AfP Manama After turning a car park into an intensive care unit for coronavirus patients, Bahrain has set up its second field hospital -- on a man-made island. The facilities are among five that the authorities plan to .. Virus caused ‘mystery’ mass deaths in north Nigeria: investigators Kano Mass deaths in a northern Nigerian state were caused by coronavirus, the authorities said after a preliminary investigation into the phenomenon. Gravediggers in the state of Kano have reported burying dozens of .. Sudan says US approves ambassador, first in two decades Khartoum Sudan announced on Monday that the United States had approved Khartoum’s pick of a veteran diplomat as ambassador to Washington, the first such envoy in over two decades. Ties between Khartoum and Washington .. Six killed as plane carrying medical supplies crashes in Somalia DPA Mogadishu Six people, including two pilots, were killed when a plane carrying medical supplies crashed in south-western Somalia on Monday, authorities said. “The cause of the accident is not yet known,” government ..