TB vaccine as anti-Covid candidate: What ICMR will study in
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In a growing list of global trials on the efficacy of tuberculosis vaccines in preventing Covid-19, one is an upcoming 10-month trial being conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on the BCG vaccine.

BCG vaccine: Short for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, BCG is a vaccine that uses a live attenuated strain derived from an isolate of Mycobacterium Bovis, used against tuberculosis.

• What will ICMR’s upcoming study on BCG vaccine look at?

It will focus on the vaccine’s potential in reducing the chance of Covid-19 death among those who are above age 60. With new finalized details of this study, results could be seen as early as March 2021, said lead ICMR scientist Suman Kanungo.

The study will cover 1,450 elderly people in six red and orange zones: King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, Mumbai; All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi; National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT), Chennai; National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), Ahmedabad; National Institute in Environmental Health (NIREH), Bhopal; and National Institute for Implementation Research on Non-Communicable Diseases (NIIRNCD), Jodhpur. The study will be conducted in conjunction with NIRT.

In mid-April, ICMR’s head of epidemiology R R Gangakhedkar had said ICMR would not recommend the BCG vaccine until “definitive results” from a study showed possible anti-Covid immunity.

• What is known about this vaccine’s action in Covid patients?

A pre-print, population-level study by New York researchers on March 28 suggested that countries with lower vaccination and without universal BCG vaccination (such as Italy and the US) saw higher Covid-19 fatalities. The study compared this pattern to countries such as South Korea and Japan, which have standing policies on the topic.

“Notwithstanding these issues, the link to BCG and COVID-19 from these studies is intriguing ”, scientists wrote in an article in Nature on April 27.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/tb-vaccine-as-anti-covid-candidate-what-icmr-will-study-in-bcg-trial-6418161/
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