Maharashtra: To Curb Tuberculosis, Govt Plans Mega Adult BCG Vaccine Trials

Maharashtra: To Curb Tuberculosis, Govt Plans Mega Adult BCG Vaccine Trials

Likely to commence from April, the study aims to cover 1.76 crore people (20% of total population) across Maharashtra.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Monday, March 04, 2024, 09:40 PM IST
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Maharashtra: To Curb Tuberculosis, Govt Plans Mega Adult BCG Vaccine Trials | Pixabay

To gauge the effectiveness of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccines in preventing tuberculosis (TB) among adults, especially high-risk groups, the state health department has planned to launch a search for volunteers to participate in the vaccine trial. Likely to commence from April, the study aims to cover 1.76 crore people (20% of total population) across Maharashtra.

Details of trials

In accordance with the Centre's guidelines, the initiative aims at gathering volunteers aged 18 and above, particularly from vulnerable groups, including individuals with a history of TB, close contacts of TB patients, those with comorbidities such as diabetes, and smokers. The trial will use the same BCG vaccine administered to infants at birth. According to the medical experts, the vaccine has been widely used, but the question over its effectiveness in preventing

TB and the duration of immunity post-vaccination is still debatable. The upcoming statewide study aims to provide clarity on these issues. Of the 80 TB administrative units in the state, 40 would be trial districts and the rest control districts.

“The study will commence from next month across state"

State Family Welfare Department Assistant Director and In-charge of routine immunisation Dr Pravin Vedpathak said, “The study will commence from next month in April across the state. Currently, health officials are undergoing training and only individuals, who voluntarily agree to participate in the trials, will be included. The willing beneficiaries will be finalised till April or May. The exercise will begin from June,” he said.

Maharashtra Health Services Joint Director (TB) said, “The state TB department is searching for volunteers from specific vulnerable groups to take part in the adult BCG vaccination trials.” The state is looking for beneficiaries from high-risk groups, including those above 50 with a history of TB infection. A long-term analysis would be done to gauge the impact of booster BCG in adults to prevent TB.

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