Western Australia has announced a drug trial for 2000 frontline healthcare using the tuberculosis vaccine to reduce the impacts of coronavirus.
The BRACE Trial is specifically designed to find ways to prevent frontline healthcare workers from contracting COVID-19 by boosting their immune system to the symptoms of the virus.
The standard tuberculosis vaccine, or BCG vaccine, is known to prevent other infections, particularly respiratory infections and boosting the immune system.
“Twenty years ago we discovered something else about the BCG vaccine which is that it appears to offer broader effect beyond just preventing tuberculosis. It also appears to prevent the incidence of other infections, particularly respiratory infections and it has been shown to reduce even death from respiratory infection in young children,” Professor Jonathan Carapetis said.
“Even in the elderly it reduces the rates of respiratory infection so that got us to think around what sort of non-specific effects in boosting the immune system might we be able to take advantage of with this vaccine to prevent the most vulnerable in our community from getting coronavirus or getting it severely if they do get it.”
The trial is a national program run in partnership with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne and has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation.
“It’s heartbreaking when we hear of health care workers are struck down by COVID-19,” WA Health Minister Roger Cook said.
“Without our healthcare workers, we won’t have a health care system.
“We are moving heaven and earth to make sure that we come up with ways that we can treat people with COVID-19 through these medical research that has been undertaken here and around the world, we can all do our bit towards moving towards ultimately a vaccine for the virus but also just ensuring that we have better ways of protecting our frontline workers.”
WA has recorded four new cases overnight including three from the Artania cruise ship bringing the states total to 527.
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