Pune: A research underway to see if the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine for tuberculosis meningitis helps reduce cases of coronavirus (COVID-19). However, Pune doctors feel that it may not be fit for patients in India, and more research is needed.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Avinash Bhondwe, President of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Maharashtra State, said that the vaccine is for TB bacteria; however, COVID-19 is a virus.
“There are many studies and trials going on right now. Until their results are published, nothing can be ascertained. So we should wait for the results. Many doctors are trying to find an existing vaccine to help fast-track its production. Other doctors are trying to develop a vaccine from anti-bodies of the virus. But it may take time to be available in the market,” said Dr Bhondwe.
Dr Makarand Khochikar, a urologist from Sangli, said that as BCG vaccine is given to every child right after birth, Indians have higher immunity.
“BCG vaccine is for TB and other diseases. Including India, many other developing countries have compulsory BCG vaccines for children which are now proving to be vital. ‘S’ type of COVID may be the reason for less death rate in India. Another reason for fewer deaths in India, may be attributed to the higher day temperature,” said Dr Khochikar.
Dr Nitin Abhyankar, a consultant at Poona Hospital and Research Centre, said that though BCG vaccine is a hope, it cannot be relied on as of now due to lack of scientific evidence.
“BCG vaccine is compulsory in India, but we have still seen deaths due to COVID-19. Hence we have to wait until a vaccine is developed especially for COVID-19 next year,” said Dr Abhyankar.