ICMR pins hope on Tuberculosis vaccine to prevent Covid-19 among elders, trials to begin in Mumbai

The BCG vaccine, which is administered to the children for protection against TB, will be administered to the elderly patients during the trial, to check its efficacy in preventing the Coronavirus infection.

The civic body in a statement said that the study will analyse the severity of the disease and development of immunity among the elder patients.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is conducting clinical trials to ascertain whether Tuberculosis vaccine BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin) has a positive impact in preventing the elder population from contracting the Coronavirus. The BCG vaccine, which is administered to the children for protection against TB, will be administered to the elderly patients during the trial, to check its efficacy in preventing the Coronavirus infection, according to a report by news agency PTI. ICMR has decided to conduct the trials in Mumbai which has been the worst affected city since the onset of Coronavirus. Led by the public health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the trials will be conducted at the Seth G S Medical College and civic-run KEM Hospital.

The civic body in a statement said that the study will analyse the severity of the disease and development of immunity among the elder patients. It also said that there is evidence which shows that the vaccine apart from being highly effective against Tuberculosis can also work against various respiratory tract infections including viral diseases.

Among the volunteers who will be administered the TB drug will be senior citizens between the age of 60 and 75 who are not suffering from any serious comorbidity like cancer etcetera. All volunteers must also not have contracted Covid-19 so far, according to the PTI report. A batch of 250 elder citizens is to be formed for conducting the trials and more citizens will be encouraged to become a part of the trials if the need arises, the BMC said. Informed consent will also be duly collected from all the citizens for the trial. Post the completion of the trials, all the volunteers will remain under the supervision of the health authorities for a period of 6 months.

Cautiously optimistic, the civic body said that the TB vaccine has offered hope and if found effective will play a crucial role in reducing the mortality and severity of Covid-19 among elder patients.

The TB vaccine trial is among the long list of drugs and vaccines being experimented by scientists the world over to reduce mortality and severity of Coronavirus among critical patients. Previously, similar trials have been conducted for Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir among others.

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