Posted On: 25/06/2018
By Sarah Knapton
THE BCG vaccine against tuberculosis can reverse type 1 diabetes to almost undetectable levels, an eight-year study has shown.
US researchers found that one jab, followed by a booster four weeks later, reduced average blood sugar levels to near normal within three years, with the effect lasting a further five.
UK experts hailed the results as “very exciting”, adding that if the vaccine, first used in 1921, had a similar impact in larger trials it would be a “major advance” in the condition’s treatment.
Around 400,000 people are living with type 1 diabetes in Britain and require daily injections of insulin to prevent them falling into a lethal coma.
In research published in the journal NPJ Vaccines, the Massachusetts General Hospital team found the vaccine boosted the rate by which cells convert glucose into energy. After three years, average blood sugar levels fell by 10 per cent. Tests on mice showed it could also be beneficial against type 2 diabetes.