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BCG – COVID-19 Hackathon Challenge Now Extended Through End of Year

Posted on October 23rd, 2020 by in COVID-19

A renewed interest in whether the BCG vaccine (for tuberculosis) could also have an application for COVID-19 has been on the rise, as evidenced by this recent Cell publication, the University of Exeter’s involvement in the BRACE Trial and ongoing general press coverage. Furthermore, the list of clinical trials focusing on this area is continuing to grow (and is available here).

The correlation between BCG and COVID-19 was also the subject of the BCG Hackathon spearheaded by the University of Ottawa, Estafet and Elsevier, which we previously discussed in this blog. Given the intense interest in the subject, we’re happy to announce that the deadline for Task 2 of the Hackathon has now been extended to December 31, 2020.

This task draws on the recently updated BCG Atlas data from the first task of the Hackathon, and it is focused on using machine learning and data science to find insights that could help the ongoing clinical trials.

Can you help find insights that could help the ongoing clinical trials in this area?

If so, we would love for you to get involved and bring your expertise to some of the questions we’ve been exploring. Among the questions we are looking to answer are:

  • Is BCG vaccination causally related to reduced COVID‐19 mortality, or are other factors – like lockdown and average age of the population – responsible for the different mortality rates?
  • If BCG vaccination reduces COVID-19 mortality, what are the key factors, for example: How long does the immunity engendered by BCG last after vaccination? Which BCG strain has been used? What is the optimal time to vaccinate?

And, of course, we are also interested in hearing alternative hypotheses as well.

If you are interested in helping with Task 2 of the Hackathon, please click here to get involved. We hope you’ll join us in this important effort!

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