KGMU Lucknow’s trial is important to understand if BCG can prevent Covid-19
KGMU is the only centre in Uttar Pradesh to conduct such a study.Updated: May 21, 2020 22:29 IST
The King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow has decided to study the efficacy of BCG vaccine in Covid-19 prevention by conducting vaccine trials on 170 people belonging to the high risk group.
“We are selecting people in the high risk groups (HRGs) to be administered BCG vaccine. This will include healthcare workers attending to Covid-19 patients and immediate family of coronavirus patients,” said Dr D Himanshu, senior faculty of the medicine department at KGMU.
KGMU is the only centre in the state to have undertaken such a study. The stock of vaccine vials have arrived and the selection of people to participate in the trials has begun.
“The trial, being done in association with the Serum Institute in Pune, is premised on a belief that several Indians could have been shielded by coronavirus because of BCG vaccine taken during the childhood, unlike countries such as America where the vaccine is optional. Immunity conferred through BCG vaccine may be used against Covid-19,” Dr Himanshu reasoned.
Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is known to provide a broad spectrum of immunity against TB and other diseases.
Himanshu said two sets of people belonging to the high-risk groups have been identified for the trials. First are the healthcare workers and second are the immediate family members of Covid-19 positive cases.
“We have started identifying such healthcare workers and once the list is finalized, we hope to administer them the vaccine by the start of the next week,” said Himanshu.
He added that family members of the positive cases will be administered the vaccine after consent.
“Each member in both the groups will first be checked to see whether they are already infected with the virus. If so, then they shall not be included in the study as it is being done to check the preventive capacity of the BCG vaccine,” Himanshu said.
The entire trial is likely to get complete in 3 months time.
“In India, several medical centres are conducting similar trials. The results of all the centres will be evaluated individually and then collectively to ascertain whether this will work or not. The final call will be taken only when all the centres submit reports,” he added.