Health officials in Australia have announced that preparations are being made to roll-out a multi-center randomized controlled clinical trial of the BCG vaccine to battle COVID-19.
The trial is aimed at healthcare workers in Australia, and according to Professor Kathryn North AC, Director of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, "Australian medical researchers have a reputation for conducting rigorous, innovative trials. This trial will allow the vaccine's effectiveness against COVID-19 symptoms to be properly tested, and may help save the lives of our heroic frontline healthcare workers."
The idea behind the trial is to examine the impact of the BCG vaccine and build upon already established studies that showed that BCG reduces virus levels in people who have contracted similar viruses to SARS-CoV-2. The trial is led by Professor Nigel Curtis, a clinician-scientist who leads MCRI's Infectious Diseases Research Group. Here's what he said, "We hope to see a reduction in the prevalence and severity of COVID-19 symptoms in healthcare workers receiving the BCG vaccination."
"We aim to enroll 4000 healthcare workers from hospitals around Australia, including the Melbourne Campus' Royal Children's Hospital to allow us to accurately say whether it can lessen the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. And we need to enroll them in the coming weeks, so the clock is definitely ticking", he added.
BCG was originally developed to fight tuberculosis, and at the moment, it's distributed out to over 130 million babies annually. One of the other benefits of BCG is that it boosts humans' 'frontline' immunity, and increases the human body's response in fighting germs. The trial has been endorsed by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom.
Here's another statement from North, "The Federal and State Health Departments, together with Australian and international philanthropists, have shown a willingness and capacity to step up to fund a number of COVID-19 related trials. Using rapidly sourced and immediately deployable funds, we will be relentless in our pursuit of preventions and treatments for this unprecedented pandemic. These trials will allow the rapid advancement of the most promising candidates to clinical practice, giving us the most number of shots on goal against COVID-19 as possible."
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Important Coronavirus COVID-19 Information
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How it makes you sick: Scientists have figured out exactly how the coronavirus COVID-19 makes you sick, find out how here.
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Last updated: Apr 6, 2020 at 04:34 pm CDT
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