Does BCG Vaccine For TB Protect Elderly From COVID? ICMR To Conduct Study

New Delhi: Going by evidence that suggests that the BCG vaccine, normally given to children for immunity against tuberculosis also protects against respiratory tract infections, including viral diseases, the Indian Council Of Medical Research (ICMR) is undertaking a study in Mumbai.

It will evaluate whether the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, is effective in preventing COVID-19 in the elderly population, News18 reported on Friday.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said Seth S Medical College, civic-run KEM Hospital and the public health department of the BMC will jointly conduct the study for ICMR, News 18 reported a BMC statement.

“The study will also look at the degree of severity of the disease and development of immunity using immunological markers,” the BMC said.

“The BCG vaccine has offered hope to the elderly, and if found effective, it will help bring down morbidity and mortality in the elderly population,” reported News18, quoting BMC, which is spearheading Mumbai’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the BMC, the study will include elderly individuals between 60-75 years of age who have not suffered from COVID-19, do not have cancer and are not immunocompromised (having a weak immune system).

The BCG vaccine will be administered after obtaining informed consent from participants who will then be closely monitored for 6 months, the BMC said. “Necessary approval for the trial has been obtained,” it said.

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