Researchers in the US are looking at the possibility of using tuberculosis and polio vaccines in providing protection from the deadly coronavirus, according to a media report. Tests are underway to see if the tuberculosis vaccine can slow the novel coronavirus, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
“This is the only vaccine in the world that can be given to combat COVID-19 right now,” Jeffrey D Cirillo, a professor of microbial pathogenesis and immunology at Texas A&M Health Science Center, was quoted as saying by the Post.
According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the contagion has infected over 75,00,000 people and killed more than 4,20,000 across the world. The US is the worst affected country with over 2.02 million cases and more than 1,13,000 deaths.
The COVID-19, which originated in China’s Wuhan city in December last year, has also battered the world economy with the International Monetary Fund saying that the global economy is bound to suffer a “severe recession”.
Scientists are racing against time to find a vaccine or medicine for its treatment.
Dr Cirillo is leading a trial of the tuberculosis vaccine, called bacillus Calmette-Guérin and known by the shorthand BCG.
The BCG vaccine, he said, is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has a lengthy record of being used safely.
Another group of scientists, according to report, have proposed using the polio vaccine to slow the COVID-19.
“Vaccines developed against TB (tuberculosis) and polio have already been used in millions of people and could offer a low-risk way to rev up the body’s first line of defence – the innate immune system – against a broad array of pathogens, including the coronavirus,” the group said.
Pakistani-American Azra Raza, a professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, told the daily that BCG can improve people’s ability to fight off other pathogens, even for patients who are given the vaccine for another approved use, against bladder cancer.