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July 5, 2021updated 12 Jul 2022 11:06am

BCG vaccine shows effectiveness against Covid-19 in trial in India

The vaccine was found to reduce the severity of symptoms to moderate-mild levels in elderly Covid-19 patients.

King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital in Mumbai, India, has submitted data from a clinical trial of the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) anti-tuberculosis vaccine as a Covid-19 treatment to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

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ICMR opted for KEM as the trial site in August 2020 to carry out the Covid-19 trial. The hospital enrolled 112 participants aged between 60 and 80 years, reported freepressjournal.

Data showed that the BCG vaccine was effective against Covid-19 and no subjects had adverse effects or developed complications linked to the vaccine, health officials noted.

A total of 1,450 elderly subjects were recruited for the trial.

Apart from KEM, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, National Institute of Occupational Health, National Institute in Environmental Health and National Institute for Implementation Research on Non-Communicable Diseases also enrolled subjects.

KEM Hospital general medicine department professor Dr Rujuta Hadaye said that this was the first trial of BCG vaccine to be conducted in elderly subjects.

Hadaye was quoted by the news agency as saying: “As per our observations, the vaccine may be effective against Covid as there were no major side effects in the volunteers. However, we are waiting for the report from ICMR.”

Preliminary trials conducted by Haffkine Institute researchers demonstrated the BCG vaccine’s efficacy in treating Covid-19, a senior doctor from the Indian civic health department noted.

The health officials added that the initial research showed that subjects who were given the BCG vaccines were more immune to Covid-19 than those who did not receive the vaccine.

Based on these data, the researchers expect that the BCG vaccine could decrease the effect of Covid-19 in individuals with mild to moderate symptoms. Furthermore, the vaccine potentially reduced the symptoms from severe to moderate-mild levels.

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