BCG, which is usually used as a vaccine against tuberculosis, apparently can clear up genital warts in about 90 per cent of cases, according to Egyptian doctors.
The results are based on a study of 50 patients with genital warts who were treated at Cairo University Hospital with BCG or an inactive placebo solution applied to the warts. The treatment was first given weekly for six consecutive weeks, then for three more weeks three times weekly if needed. The investigators explain in the journal Urology that the procedure was quite simple. The BCG solution was applied directly to the warts and held in place with gauze while the patient laid flat for 15 minutes. Dr. Rany Shamloul, at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, and colleagues in Cairo report that 20 of the 25 patients (80 percent) treated with BCG had complete disappearance of warts after six applications. Three additional patients showed clearance after receiving more intensive therapy for three weeks. Thus, only two patients (8 percent) did not have a complete response to BCG treatment. By contrast, no improvements were seen in the placebo group, the team points out. None of the people who responded to BCG treatment had a recurrence of genital warts, and side effects from the therapy were mild, such as transient fever and redness, the investigators state. BCG treatment “had a high success rate compared with placebo solution, with insignificant side effects and no recurrences,” they conclude. They believe BCG therapy may boost immune cell responses, “which may help in disease regression.” (Source: Urology, March 2005)