A short summary of THE project
Urgent action is essential in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor John Campbell MBE from the University of Exeter plans to run a clinical trial which has the potential to save thousands of lives within weeks by lowering morbidity and reduce pressure on the NHS if it can go ahead immediately.
University of Exeter internal data modelling indicates that as many as 20 million people could be affected in the UK alone within the next 40 days. As we know, older people and those with long term conditions such as lung or heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer are all particularly at risk based on the evidence from countries such as China, Italy, and Spain.
Working in partnership with Professor Mihai Netea, one of the world's leading infectious disease specialists in the Netherlands, we believe we have an intervention based on the BCG vaccine, which is already widely used across the world. Mounting international evidence suggests that it may help decrease morbidity and hospital admissions for those at risk of COVID-19.
The full background is summarised in this recent Science article:
Alongside similar studies in the Netherlands, we plan to rapidly deliver a clinical trial vaccinating older people in Devon and Warwickshire with the BCG vaccine to assess whether it has a protective effect. If this proves to be the case, the programme has the potential to be rolled out nationally and internationally.
Where will the money go?
We are in urgent discussions with the UK Government who are very interested, however national health research resources in the UK are now over-stretched and so philanthropic support is vital to kick-start this trial. We urgently need your support to secure the £1.8 million required to deliver the trial in the UK. We have detailed trial protocols in place and ethical approval will be fast-tracked by the authorities so we will be ready to start the trial as soon as funding allows.
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We hope that this is something you are interested in supporting so that we can start the roll-out of this trial and prevent COVID-19 taking such a terrible toll.