India to test 100-yr-old vaccine on adults as war on Covid-19 hots up

The recombinant BCG vaccine from the Serum Institute will be India’s first vaccine candidate to begin clinical trials over the next two weeks. This is to check whether the vaccine, given at birth to Indians to prevent tuberculosis, can also improve immunity against the novel coronavirus in adults.

If all goes well, by the end of this year the vaccine, which has a established safety track record, could be on the market. Serum Institute is capable of obtaining 300-400 million doses of this vaccine.

Speaking to the Industry Standard, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Pune’s Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest dose-administered vaccine manufacturer, said: "We are working on a recombinant BCG vaccine that should be better than the current BCG vaccine.

Health care experts said several recent reports have shown higher incidences of Covid-19 cases in countries that did not have a mandatory BCG vaccination program.

For example, the US and Italy do not administer the BCG as part of their uniform policy on vaccination.

“In May 1948, the Government of India released a press release claiming that tuberculosis was ‘reaching epidemic proportions’ in the country and that, ‘after due consideration,’ it had agreed to implement BCG vaccination on a limited scale and under strict supervision as a measure to contain the disease,” according to Chandrakant Lahariya’s publication A brief history of vaccines & vaccination in India Read More