BCG tuberculosis vaccine to be tested in Britain for effectiveness against coronavirus


 Race to find a vaccine against coronavirus is on. Research, test and trials are going on in all corners of the world. But now, a new approach is being adopted in global fight against the pandemic. BCG tuberculosis vaccine will now be tested on frontline care workers in Britain for its effectiveness against COVID-19.


Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is used to protect against tuberculosis. However, researchers are drawn towards the broad innate immune-system response the BCG vaccine elicits. This immune response is shown to protect against infection or severe illness with other respiratory pathogens.






"BCG has been shown to boost immunity in a generalised way, which may offer some protection against COVID-19," Professor John Campbell, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said.


"We are seeking to establish whether the BCG vaccine could help protect people who are at risk of COVID-19. If it does, we could save lives by administering or topping up this readily available and cost-effective vaccination."






The UK study is part of an existing Australian-led trial, which launched in April and also has arms in the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil. The BCG vaccine is also being tested as a protection against COVID-19 in South Africa.


The British trial is recruiting volunteers ahead of winter months that officials have warned may be tough as the country grapples with a second wave of infections.


The trial`s UK arm, which is being run from Exeter, southwest England, is seeking to recruit 1,000 people who work in care homes and community healthcare nearby.






Meanwhile, UK is preparing to put in place a three-tier lockdown regime. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the outline on Monday.


The three-tier system is meant to clarify the patchwork of rules for England that has evolved since infection rates started to climb again in September, according to reports.


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