ICMR: Study on Efficiency of BCG vaccine in treating COVID-19
The Indian Council of Medical Research is to conduct study to evaluate effectiveness of BCG vaccine to prevent morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 elderly individuals. The study is to be conducted on people aged between 60 and 95 years in 19 hotspots in the country.
ICMR is to carry out the studies in six states namely Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. The ICMR-NIRT (Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis) is to lead the study.
About the study
The study will conduct research about the effectiveness of BCG vaccine in preventing occurrence of COVID-19. The study is to focus on the same BCG vaccine that is administered to new born babies under National Immunization Programme.
Several studies from different parts of the world have linked reduced COVID-19 mortality rates and BCG vaccine. Countries such as Brazil, Iran that administered BCG programme have lowered mortality rates. On the other hand, US, Italy and Netherlands where BCG vaccines were not being used accounted to more COVID-19 deaths.
India believed that more scientific evidence is required to confirm the studies. Therefore, India is starting its own study. BCG has proved its effectiveness against SARS infection.
The World Health Organization does not recommend BCG vaccine for COVID-19. According to WHO, BCG prevents severe form of Tuberculosis in children, but there is no evidence that it protects people against COVID-19.