Differentially Expressed Genes Study Shown Potential for BCG Stimulation in Reducing the Severity of COVID-19

Irandi Putra Pratomo, Aryo Tedjo, Dimas R. Noor, Wisnu Ananta Kusuma

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The incidence of COVID-19 infection and death is known to be lower in tuberculosis (TB) endemic countries than in nonendemic countries. The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination, which is commonly administered in TB endemic countries, was previously reported to have a nonspecific protective effect against several infections, including COVID-19. In this study, we used a differentially expressed genes (DEG) approach to analyze the genes modulated by BCG vaccination and COVID-19 infection. The Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database was used to select a COVID-19 gene expression data set with GSE164805, GSE14408, and GSE58636, and DEG in each data set were identified using the GEO2R online tools and selected using the adjusted p value (padj) 0.05 criteria. The protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was constructed from DEGs with the same trend of expression (upregulation or downregulation) using STRING version 11. The PPI network was performed by using the highest confidence number (0.9). DEGs that have a high-trust network were collected and functional cluster analysis of biological processes from Gene Ontology (GO), pathway analysis from the Human KEGG pathway, and COVID-19-related gene analysis was carried out using the Enrichr database. We found that either BCG or tuberculin increased the expression of several genes related to hyperinflammation, such as CCL3, CCL4, CSF2, IL1B, and LTA. In severe COVID-19, these genes were downregulated. This leads to the hypothesis that revaccination may have a protective effect against the severity of COVID-19 by reducing the hyperinflammatory status.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1490408
JournalInternational Journal of Inflammation
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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