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The Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine

In 1921, Calmette and Guérin introduced a live attenuated vaccine obtained by serial subculturing for 13 years of a bovine strain of tuberculosis on a glycerinated bile potato medium. During this process, it gradually lost its virulence. The strain, bacilli Calmette-Guérin (BCG), not only had lost its virulence but also conferred protection against virulent challenge. BCG vaccination started in France in 1924 but mass vaccination campaigns were started by The Scandinavian Red Cross Societies after World War II. Currently, it is the most widely used vaccine in the world. UNICEF estimated that coverage with BCG is greater than 80%. The protective effect appears to wane by 10 to 15 years after vaccination.
 


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