A $10 million grant enables expansion of BCG vaccine trial against COVID-19

A $10 million grant enables expansion of BCG vaccine trial against COVID-19

Low levels of vitamin D may be linked to severe COVID-19 Professor Curtis said, "We have dealt with the pandemic extremely well in Australia with rapid and thorough physical distancing, contact tracing and quarantine where appropriate. This new funding from the Gates Foundation allows other countries to also test whether additional preventative measures may help protect healthcare workers. "These sorts of trials normally take around eight to 12 months to start, but with the early support of philanthropy, we were able to start in record time within three weeks. "Since beginning the BRACE trial we have been inundated with requests from other hospitals wanting to be involved, both in Australia and internationally. This funding will allow us to begin delivering on those requests." Professor Marc Bonten from UMC Utrecht said, "We are looking forward to collaborating with Professor Curtis and his team. We are very pleased to now be joining this international trial to see if BCG can help lessen COVID-19 symptoms in Dutch healthcare workers." Professor Mihai Netea echoed those sentiments saying, "At Radboud UMC we have spent more than 10 years investigating BCG's off-target effects, including previous research with Professor Curtis. In a time of crisis such as this, we thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their agile and generous contribution." Professors Curtis and Netea, along with WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, recently emphasized in a letter to The Lancet the need for BCG vaccine to only be given in the context of clinical trials when investigating its off-target effects. BCG vaccines are already in short supply, and indiscriminate use could jeopardise the supply needed to protect children against tuberculosis in high-risk areas. In Australia, the South Australian site is coordinated through the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, and was enabled by a A$200,000 funding announcement from the South Australian state government. Three sites in Perth are coordinated by the Telethon Kids Institute, and funded by the Minderoo Foundation which contributed A$1.5 million. The additional sites in Melbourne are at Monash Health and Epworth Health, and The Children's Hospital at Westmead in Sydney. MCRI Director, Professor Kathryn North, said, "The philanthropic leadership shown by our valued donors is vital to support urgent medical research at this critical time." "Australia has proven itself to be a global leader in 'flattening the curve' and we are pleased to now be in a position to help the rest of the world. We are still in a race against time." Source:



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