BCG vaccine to be tested in Covid-19 battle

Mumbai institute claims some success in mitigating coronavirus effects

BCG vaccine to be tested in Covid-19 battle

The BCG vaccine is used universally across India to immunise children against tuberculosis and meningitis.

Shiv Kumar

Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 14

Mumbai's Haffkine Institute has claimed some success in mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 virus in patients injected with the BCG vaccine.

In its application to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Drugs Controller of India, the Haffkine Institute has claimed that preliminary research on the BCG vaccine's effect in combating the Covid-19 virus has been encouraging. "We have applied to the

authorities to carry out clinical trials of the vaccine," Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, Secretary, Medical Education and Drugs Department, Government of Maharashtra said.

The Maharashtra government had asked the Haffkine Institute to carry out research on the efficacy of the BCG vaccine in combating the Covid-19 virus after experts advised that it boosted immunity in patients.

The BCG vaccine is used universally across India to immunise children against tuberculosis and meningitis. Newborn children are usually given the BCG vaccine in India and other developing countries.

According to expert advice obtained by the Maharashtra government, the effect of the BCG vaccine wears off with the age of the patient.

Officials say, elderly patients and those with co-morbidities may be injected with newer versions of the BCG vaccine to protect them from the Covid-19 virus if the clinical trials are proved to be effective.

Initial research by the Haffkine Institute indicates that patients who have already tested positive for the Covid-19 virus but with mild symptoms could prevent worsening of their condition following a fresh round of the BCG vaccination, according to officials here.

However, the efficacy of the BCG vaccine on those found to have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus need to be established by clinical trials, according to health department officials.

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