Preliminary studies carried out by researchers at Haffkine Institute have shown the effectiveness of the vaccine in treating Covid-19 patients. Following which after discussions the BJ Medical College (BJMC) and Sassoon General Hospitals (SGH) have been selected to conduct trials of BCG vaccines.
Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that there is no evidence that the vaccine protects people from getting infected by COVID-19, preliminary studies carried out by researchers in Mumbai have found it effective in treating COVID-19 patients.
The Haffkine Institute at Parel had received permission from the Drug Control General of India (DCGI) to conduct the clinical trials of BCG, also an anti-tuberculosis vaccine to treat COVID-19 patients.
Health officials said they will be using this vaccine as a therapeutic treatment, maybe from next week, for clinical trials on COVID-19 patients. “The trials will be conducted only on the moderate patients, keeping out the patients with severe or mild infection. We have decided to use the moderate patients only so that we can monitor the severity, duration of illness and hospitalisation, blood parameters and the outcome of treatment will be closely monitored,” he explained.
Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, deputy director of health services, Pune region, informed that Maharashtra is the first state to receive permission to start clinical trials of BCG vaccines for treatment of COVID-19. “The initial research conducted by Haffkine has shown that people who received BCG vaccines were more immune to the virus, than those who did not. Based on these findings the researchers will carry out the trial in Pune, with a hypothesis that the vaccine be used to efficiently treat the COVID-19 patients,” he added.