Twenty elderly volunteers between the age group of 60-80 years have been administered with the anti-tuberculosis vaccination (TB) — Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine (BCG) at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital.
As part of the trials, which had been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), an estimated 200 elderly citizens in the age group of 60 to 80, free from COVID-19 or any other ailments, will be inoculated with a dose of BCG vaccine.
“BCG vaccines are given to those volunteers who are healthy and their both RT-PCR and antigen testing turn out to be negative. Moreover for the next one year, the inoculated persons will be monitored for the presence of antibodies in their blood and how they respond in the context of COVID-19,” said a doctor.
Though BCG vaccine is mandatorily given to children in India, the immunity is believed to wane with time and reduce substantially after 60 years. The vaccine administered as part of the trial will be a “booster dose” to see if it can provide additional cover to tuberculosis and also cover COVID-19 in the process, he said.
BCG vaccine is given when children are young and is expected to last for 40 to 50 years during which they are expected to develop strong immunity to face the tuberculosis challenge, he said. The persons vaccinated in the trial will be first checked after 28 days.
“We will check how they have responded after the inoculation and test them for antibody titer. We will keep checking them over a period of time to see how long the antibody cover is available and how the person responds with the cover,” Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner, BMC.