DELHI: Amid the nation’s ongoing fight against the COVID-19, various hospitals of the country have initiated preparations to start clinical trials from Friday to test the use of tuberculosis vaccine Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) to cure COVID-19.

Five Medical institutions including All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, Pt BD Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) Rohtak and PGI, Chandigarh have got permission from the government.

The trials will begin on 175 attendants of Covid patients, including close contacts, doctors, nurses, ward boys and sanitary workers. They will be administered the BCG vaccine and kept under observation for the next 180 days to find out its effect.

Dr Savita Verma, another investigator, said consent would be taken from Covid patients’ attendants to be involved in the study. Thereafter, their samples would be collected. “They would be administered the BCG vaccine if they test negative for Covid,” she said.

This comes after the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare approved the clinical trial of BCG vaccine to find a cure for corona with the BCG vaccine.

The researchers and medical fraternity of the country have been continuously making all possible efforts to eliminate the Coronavirus at its earliest. With a high rate of transmission and being a new disease with no Immunity in the population against it makes it even worse to deal with. Vaccine seems to be one possible solution against it.

According to the data of various nations worldwide it has been found that the death rate has been significantly lower in countries that administer the BCG vaccine to their citizens than the ones that don’t.  India, Japan & Brazil have reported lower death rate than the US, Italy, Spain & Netherlands where citizens are not vaccinated with BCG.

The BCG vaccine — introduced in the 1920s to fight TB — is currently administered to newborn children. Dr Dhruv Choudhry, investigator of the research and head of Pulmonary Medicine at PGIMS, said the BCG vaccine was known to enhance immunity. “The study aims to explore whether or not persons given the BCG vaccine catch coronavirus infection,” he said.

The BCG vaccine contains a live but weakened strain of TB bacteria that provokes the body to develop antibodies to attack the bacteria. Unlike other vaccines, the BCG vaccine also boosts the innate immune system.