Tunis Pasteur Institute able to produce sufficient quantities of BCG vaccine if proved effective against COVID-19
02/04/2020 20:06, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)- Director General of the Tunis Pasteur Institute Hachmi Louzir said Thursday the institute is able to produce sufficient quantities of the vaccine for tuberculosis BCG) if clinical trials prove its effectiveness against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a statement to TAP, Louzir did not rule out the possibility of starting clinical trials of the vaccine on health workers, as they are highly exposed to infection, after the detection of 30 cases among medics and paramedics.

He stressed the possibility of administering the BCG vaccine to volunteers among health workers and observing its effectiveness in reducing the risk of infection, compared to another group of non-vaccinated workers, noting that these clinical trials require the Ministry of Health to put in place an adequate action plan.

He said the importance of this vaccine lies in its ability to strengthen the immune system, stressing that it could under no circumstances be used as a vaccine against coronavirus.

Recent international scientific expert reports noted that countries that have continued to apply the international BCG protocol were less affected by the pandemic than those which had abandoned its use.

Louzir said the Tunis Pasteur Institute has been producing the vaccine since 1928, a few years after its discovery, adding that the vaccine has been mandatory in Tunisia since the 1970s.

He added that Tunisia has maintained the use of this vaccine without interruption and has managed to completely eradicate tuberculosis in the country.

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