BCG Vaccination Policy and Salmiak Consumption Are Inversely Associated with COVID-19 Death Rates in Europe
12 Pages Posted: 18 May 2020
Date Written: May 8, 2020
The late 2019 SARS-CoV-2 pandemic still continues and the COVID-19 associated toll of dead increases. The danger of a second outbreak is imminent thus, preparations for the future are mandatory. Revealing influenceable factors affecting COVID-19-related mortality rate is therefore important. Any possible intervention that may reduce SARS-coronavirus-induced death rate could be obviously construed as a population based preventative measure. We analyzed the European countries or regions, and found a highly significant association between Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination policy and lower rate of COVID-19-related deaths. We also recognized that certain Northern European countries or regions had low death rates regardless of BCG-policy. We assumed the consumption of salmiak (ammonium chloride) containing foods as the common and peculiar cause of the reduced COVID-19-related death rates in these countries, because ammonium chloride is a known lysosomotropic agent which has been indicated to inhibit or prevent SARS-CoV infection. To check the possible effect of salmiak consumption on COVID-19-related death rate, we used a linear regression model having the death rate as dependent variable with BCG-policy and salmiak consumption score as independent variables. With the linear regression, using a robust standard error algorithm, we found a significant effect exerted by the independent variables (p < 0.0005 for BCG and p = 0.001 for salmiak); the residuals were not gaussian (Shapiro-Wilk test: p < 0.001). It is to consider that even using salmiak consumption score as unique independent variable, always with the robust standard error algorithm, the result is significant (p = 0.016).
Funding: None to be declared
Declaration of Interest: None to be declared
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; death rate; BCG; ammonium chloride; lysosomotropic agent; salmiak consumption
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