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What is the full form of BCG

BCG: Bacillus Calmette-Guerin

Fullform Bcg

BCG stands for Bacillus Calmette-Guerin. It is a vaccine that provides protection against tuberculosis; it helps build immunity against tuberculosis. The vaccine was developed by two French bacteriologists Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin. It was first used in 1921 by Dr Weil-Hale for the treatment of a child who had tuberculosis. In the next three years (up to 1924), around 320 infants were vaccinated with BCG.

The vaccine is given to children and persons at higher risk of developing tuberculosis such as people living in the TB-affected parts of the world or children having one or more parents affected with TB or born in TB-affected countries. It is also given to people suffering from bladder tumors or bladder cancer.

How does BCG Vaccine Works?

BCG vaccine is a weakened strain of Mycobacterium Bovis which is a type of bacteria that causes TB. This vaccine when administered in the body stimulates the immune system in response to the bacteria without actually causing the disease. The antibodies remain in the body that protects against future infections with the same bacteria. Thus, the BCG vaccine helps our body to produce antibodies against the bacteria of TB that provide immunity against tuberculosis.

Who should not get BCG?

This vaccine can cause complications in some people. It includes people who;

  • Have had TB before
  • Have an HIV infection
  • Have a positive Mantoux (skin) test
  • Have weak immune system due to an underlying condition or other medicines, and pregnant women.

Precautions and Care

  • If you have any medicine or BCG vaccination allergies, let your doctor and pharmacist know right away.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs you are taking, including any antibiotics, cancer chemotherapeutic drugs, steroids, or vitamins.
  • Inform your doctor if you recently received a smallpox vaccination or a positive TB test.
  • Inform your doctor if you suffer from an immunological condition, cancer, a fever, an infection, or a body part with serious burns.
  • Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. When taking the BCG vaccine and finding out you are pregnant, call your doctor right away.
  • The vaccine should be taken after consulting the doctor.
  • Keep the vaccination area clean and dry for around 24 hours.
  • Use a dry dressing with gauze if the vaccination area starts to ooze.
  • If required sterile alcohol swab can be used to clean the area.
  • Do not apply any ointment, antiseptic cream, band-aid, etc.


BCG vaccine adverse effects are possible. If any of the following symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right at first:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tiny red patches at the site of injection (These typically occur 10-14 days after injection and gradually get smaller. After roughly six months, they should vanish.)
  • Fever
  • Blood in the urine
  • Uncomfortable or frequent urination
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

BCG Immunotherapy for Bladder Cancer

The US Food and Drug Administration has currently only licenced Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a live attenuated strain of Mycobacterium bovis, for the primary treatment of bladder cancer in situ. Midway through the 1980s, BCG took the position of cystectomy as the preferred treatment for CIS. In patients with high-grade, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, BCG therapy also lowers the chance of recurrence and continued maintenance therapy lowers the risk of advancement (NMIBC).

Used against Mycobacteria

  • BCG has protective effects against some non-tuberculosis mycobacteria.
  • Leprosy: BCG has a protective effect against leprosy in the range of 20 to 80%.
  • Buruli ulcer: BCG may protect against or delay the onset of Buruli ulcer.

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