New National Vaccine Trial Aims to Reduce the Impact of COVID-19 in Healthcare Workers

19 June 2020
Clinical Trials

Frontline healthcare workers at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead will be the first NSW participants to join the BRACE trial. The BRACE trial, launched by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) aims to investigate whether the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine can protect healthcare workers exposed to SARS-CoV-2 from developing severe symptoms, reducing the impacts of COVID-19.

The BCG vaccine is one of the most widely used vaccines in the world, given to over 130 million babies worldwide each year. In addition to preventing tuberculosis (TB), this vaccine also boosts immunity to a variety of other infections.

The clinical trials team at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and Kids Research, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network will be coordinating the trial in NSW with other sites across Sydney, including Westmead Hospital, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, Prince of Wales Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital.

The randomised controlled trial will test 10,000 healthcare workers across Australia, and other countries including the Netherlands and Spain. Half of the participants will receive the BCG vaccine while the other half will receive a placebo. Participants will then be tracked over a period of 12 months to record if they contract COVID-19 and the severity of their symptoms.

The trial’s rapid development and rollout in Australia has been made possible thanks to philanthropic support like that of the NSW Health Services Union, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sarah and Lachlan Murdoch, The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, The Minderoo Foundation, South Australian government, as well as support from the NAB Foundation, Calvert-Jones Foundation and individual donors.

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead is the first site to launch the trial in Sydney, officially starting to vaccinate frontline workers this week.

Visit the MCRI website for more information on the BRACE trial.

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