Researchers testing 100-year old TB vaccine to fight COVID-19

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 30, 2020

Scientists across the globe are testing a 100-year old vaccine for tuberculosis as a protective measure against COVID-19, according to media reports.

A TB vaccine called bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is being tested on healthcare workers in Melbourne to see if the vaccine will act as a protective measure against the novel coronavirus, Bloomberg reported. The immunisation trial using BCG is targeted specifically against the coronavirus pandemic with emphasis on its effectiveness in cases of clinical severity. The research is extensively being conducted on healthcare workers and elders, as per the report.

With a dedicated vaccine over a year away, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that it was important to know if the vaccine could help curb the spread and impact of the pandemic. The WHO is encouraging international groups to collaborate with the Australian study led by Nigel Curtis, head of infectious diseases research, at the Murdoch Children Hospital, the report said.

Furthermore, a team of 1,000 healthcare workers have been recruited in the Netherlands to test the vaccine. Serum Institute of India will also begin clinical trials with another tuberculosis vaccine VPM1002 to check if it is effective as a preventive and immunity booster vaccine against Covid-19, according to media reports.

In a global race for a COVID-19 vaccine, China last week started the first phase of a clinical trial for its novel coronavirus vaccine. Earlier this month, US health officials had also said that they had started their trial to evaluate a possible vaccine in Seattle as per previous reports. The WHO has also initiated a global mega trial of four of the most promising COVID-19 drugs called the ‘Solidarity trial’ in which India is likely to participate as per previous reports.

Published on March 30, 2020

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