ICMR to study if BCG vaccine helps prevent COVID-19
ICMR will start a new trial for vaccines next week to study the eﬃcacy of the BCG vaccine in preventing COVID-19. The results are expected to help the government decide if the vaccine can be recommended to frontline healthcare workers taking care of patients with COVID-19.
Dr. R R Gangakhedkar, Head of epidemiology and communicable disease, ICMR, said, “The ICMR will begin a study next week. We won’t recommend it even for health workers until we have deﬁnitive results. Some studies have pointed out higher fatalities in some European nations that have discontinued BCG vaccination, the possible eﬀects of BCG vaccine in boosting antiviral immunity has been the subject to be considered.
BCG – Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine is primarily utilized against tuberculosis. In nations where TB or leprosy is common, 1 dose of BCG vaccine is advised for healthy children soon after birth. The BCG vaccine trial will be just one of a few lines of treatment and prevention being carried out all over the world, with work advancing on antivirals like remdesivir, seen useful against Ebola, and plasma or immune treatments besides research on an anti-COVIF-19 vaccine.
Dr. Gangakhedkar said, “There is no proof to take an oﬃcial position on the BCG vaccine against COVID-19. It can not even stop TB, yet it can just protect from severity. It most likely prevents meningitis, so there is partial protection. Some studies show that it is an immunomodulator“.
Clarifying its eﬃcacy and usage, he claimed that the vaccination is given at birth and is eﬀective for 15 years. Re-vaccination of BCG is also studied, but that is also till adolescence or 15 years. But, there is no evidence or studies regarding re-vaccination after 15 years.
WHO claimed there is no proof yet to reveal that the BCG vaccine is eﬀective in preventing COVID-19.
The UN agency said, “Two clinical trials resolving this inquiry are in progress, and WHO will assess the evidence when it is available. WHO does not recommend BCG vaccination to prevent COVID-19 as there is a lack of evidence.”
Author: Sruthi S