Mumbai: Two state-run medical colleges in Pune have received permission to conduct trials for the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
Preliminary studies carried out by researchers at Haffkine Institute have shown the effectiveness of the vaccine in treating Covid-19. The BJ Medical College (BJMC) and Sassoon General Hospitals (SGH) have been selected to conduct trials of this vaccine.
Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) says there is no evidence that the vaccine protects people from Covid-19 infection, preliminary studies by researchers in Mumbai shows that it is 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,the anti-tuberculosis vaccine to treat COVID-19 patients.
Health officials said they would use this vaccine as therapeutic treatment, as early as next week, when clinical trials begin. “The trials will be conducted only on moderate cases, keeping out patients with severe or mild infection. We have decided to use only moderately affected patients so that we can monitor the severity, duration of illness and hospitalisation, blood parameters and the outcome of treatment,” he explained.
Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, deputy director of health services, Pune region, informed that Maharashtra was the first state to receive permission to start clinical trials of the BCG vaccine for the treatment of Covid-19. “Initial research by Haffkine has shown that people who received the BCG vaccine were more immune to the virus than those who did not. Based on these findings, researchers will carry out the trials in Pune, with the hypothesis that the vaccine be used to efficiently treat Covid-19 patients,” he said.