6,000 health workers, high-risk individuals enroll for BCG vaccine trials

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 27, 2020

A total of 6,000 healthcare workers and high-risk individuals have been enrolled for BCG vaccine trial. BCG is used to vaccinate children against tuberculosis.

High-risk individuals include those who are in close contact with Covid-19 patients.

Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SIIPL) has been supported under Department of Biotechnology’s National Biopharma Mission to conduct a multisite randomised double-blinded placebo-controlled phase III clinical trial of a recombinant BCG (RBCG) vaccine candidate, VPM1002.

The objective of this trial is to evaluate the ability of VPM1002 in reducing infection incidence and severe disease outcomes of Covid-19 among high-risk persons of advanced age or co-morbidities and high-exposure healthcare workers (HCWs).

“It has beneficial heterologous effects and proven antiviral and immune modulatory properties that protect against infectious diseases by affording inmunity,” said a press statement by the DBT.

Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT said, “BCG vaccine is a proven platform and utilising its off-target effects for diseases other than TB is a very pragmatic approach to take. The trial began in May 2020 and has completed enrolment of 6,000 subjects in almost 40 hospitals across the country. This is an important milestone, in the quest for preventing the disease and we look forward to the results of this important trial”.

“We look forward to the positive results of the trial, which should be available before the end of this year,” said Adar Poonawalla, owner and CEO, Serum Institute of India (SII).

Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) and Health Canada had also approved similar trials with rBCG.

Published on July 27, 2020

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