Condition category
Infections and Infestations
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Prospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
This study aims to find out whether Bacillus-Calmette Guerin (BCG), the vaccine normally given to protect against tuberculosis, might also be able protect babies against other infections. One study in premature babies in Guinea-Bissau suggests that this might be the case, but we do not know if this wider protection also occurs in other countries and in babies born at the right time. It is also not yet known how BCG vaccination might protect against diseases other than tuberculosis. In this study we are aiming to see whether BCG vaccination can protect healthy Ugandan babies against diseases other than tuberculosis, and try to find an explanation as to how BCG produces this protection.

Who can participate?
Healthy babies born in one of the two study hospitals (Entebbe Grade B and Kisubi Hospitals) in Uganda.

What does the study involve?
Mothers presenting in labour to one of the study hospitals will be approached to ask whether they would like to be involved in the study. If they agree and the baby is born healthy, the mother will be asked questions regarding her living circumstances and health, and details of the infant's birth will be recorded. A sample of blood will be taken from the umbilical cord after it has been detached from the baby. The mother will choose an envelope at random which will say whether the baby has been allocated to receive BCG vaccination at birth or at 6 weeks of age. The baby will be vaccinated immediately if in the 'at birth' group. All babies will receive their other immunisations at birth as normal. In the first 10 weeks of the baby's life the mothers will be asked to return to the clinic with the baby for two further blood samples (less than half a teaspoon of blood each), all routine immunisations, and BCG vaccination at 6 weeks of age if it was not given at birth. Each time the baby is seen at the clinic it will be reviewed by a doctor to check that it remains well. Mothers will also be contacted by telephone weekly to double check the health of the baby. Participation in the study finishes after the baby has reached 10 weeks of age.

What are the possible benefits and risks to the participants?
All participants in the study will benefit from free, open access to medical care. We will also make sure that they receive all of their routine vaccinations at the correct time, which does not always happen in Uganda. Mothers will also be reimbursed their travel costs for each scheduled clinic visit (10,000 Ugandan Shillings - £2.50). The main risk to participants is of 6 weeks of possible exposure to tuberculosis before BCG vaccination. This risk will only apply to the half of infants allocated to receive BCG vaccination at 6 weeks of age. We believe that this risk is extremely small because it is very unusual for infants to contract tuberculosis this early in life. It is also no higher risk than is undergone by more than half of Ugandan babies currently, who do not receive BCG vaccination before 6 weeks of age. There is also some evidence that delaying BCG vaccination may improve the protection that the vaccine gives against tuberculosis, so these babies may have some benefits from receiving BCG vaccination at 6 weeks of age. We will monitor all the infants very closely to ensure there is no disadvantage to the infants in either group. The study will be stopped early if one group appears to be at higher risk than the other.

Where is the study run from?
The study will recruit infants from Entebbe Grade B and Kisubi Hospitals in Uganda. The main research clinic where infants will be seen for follow-up will be at the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study Clinic, which is attached to Entebbe Grade B hospital. The study is co-ordinated through the Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute on AIDS (Uganda), where the laboratory work will be conducted, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK).

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run?
We aim to start recruiting babies in mid-march 2014. Recruitment and follow-up is likely to continue for 15 months, ending in June 2015. Laboratory analysis will continue for a further 6 months.

Who is funding the study?
The Wellcome Trust (UK).

Who is the main contact?
Dr Sarah Prentice

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Sarah Prentice


Contact details

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Keppel Street
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

A randomised controlled trial of BCG vaccination at birth compared to at 6 weeks of age to investigate whether BCG provides protection against heterologous invasive infectious disease by stimulating the innate immune system



Study hypothesis

We hypothesise that Bacillus-Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccination stimulates the innate immune system in a non-specific manner, resulting in short and longer-term protection against heterologous invasive infectious disease.

Ethics approval

1. Medical Research Council (MRC)/Uganda Virus Research Institute on AIDS, 26/11/2013, ref: GC/127/13/11/432
2. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (pending)
3. Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (pending)

Study design

Single-blind randomised controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


All cause invasive infectious disease/neonatal sepsis


560 Ugandan babies will be randomly assigned to receive BCG-Danish 0.05 ml intradermal to the left deltoid on either the day of birth or at six weeks of age.

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

BCG vaccine

Primary outcome measure

This study will be divided into three separate immunological sub-studies with their own primary outcome measures:

Sub-study 1: Pro-inflammatory Cytokine Analysis
IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and IFN-γ cytokine levels following in vitro stimulation with S. aureus, S. pneumoniae, E. coli, FEC (influenza, Ebstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus combined viral stimulant) and C. albicans (measured by ELISA):
1. 24-72 hours post-birth intervention
2. Immediately prior to first dose of primary immunisations (6 weeks post-birth intervention)
3. 24-72 hours hours post-6-week intervention
4. Immediately prior to second dose of primary immunisations (4 weeks post-6-week intervention)

Sub-study 2: Inflammatory Iron Status
Hepcidin levels (measured by ELISA) and transferrin saturation (measured using the Cobas-Integra automated analyser):
1. 24-72 hours post-birth intervention
2. 24-72 hours post first dose of primary interventions
3. 24-72 hours post-6-week intervention
4. 24-72 hours post second dose of primary interventions

Sub-study 3: Monocyte Epigenetic Modification
Tri-methylation of histone-3, lysine-4 at the promoter regions of pro-inflammatory cytokines in monocytes (measured by chromatin immunoprecipitation):
1. 24-72 hours post-birth intervention
2. Immediately prior to first dose of primary immunisations (6 weeks post-birth intervention).

Secondary outcome measures

All children in the study will be clinically followed up, providing combined secondary outcome measures:
1. Physician-diagnosed invasive infectious disease
2. Parent-reported invasive infectious disease
3. Blood culture positive invasive infectious disease
4. Death

Secondary outcomes will be collected up to 10 weeks of age. They will be measured via a combination of:
1. Questionnaires asking for parental recall of illness episodes, administered every time the participant is seen in the research clinic (this will be for the two blood samples and for all routine immunisations up to 10 weeks of age)
2. Physician case report forms, completed any time a child is seen in the clinic or the hospital during their participation in the study.

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

Neonates born to women delivering in Entebbe Grade B or Kisubi hospitals will be eligible for inclusion if:
1. Mother consents for participation
2. They reside in the study catchment areas
3. Mothers are HIV negative (based on records available from antenatal care received during this pregnancy)
4. The birth was sufficiently uncomplicated to allow the neonate to be discharged directly home from hospital with no infant admission or treatment for complications
5. The neonate is of a gestational age and birth weight to allow discharge directly home from hospital (no requirement for supplemental oxygen or feeding)

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

Neonates will be excluded from the study if:
1. Cord blood is not obtained
2. They have major congenital malformations
3. The infant is clinically unwell, as judged by a midwife
4. Known maternal tuberculosis (TB) or active TB within the family (based on direct questioning of mother during recruitment)
5. Maternal or family member positive for any TB screening symptoms:
5.1. Cough > 2 weeks
5.2. Recent haemoptysis
5.3. >3 kg weight loss in past month
5.4. Recurrent fevers/chills or night sweats for the past 3 days or more

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK)

Sponsor details

Keppel Street
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7927 2626

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Wellcome Trust (UK), grant ref: ITCRZB84

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2018 results in:
2015 protocol in:

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

21/09/2018: Publication reference added