Sinn Féin TD Darren O’Rourke says the Irish research and scientific community can play a leading role in the international effort to find a vaccine and other treatments for Covid-19.
The Meath TD made the comments following recent interest in the potential for the BCG vaccine to provide increased immunity to patients with Covid-19.
“There is a global effort to find treatments for Covid-19. At the moment, there are in excess of 35 potential vaccines at various stages of trial, with many more research teams investigating other potential treatment options. There is a particular focus on anti-viral medicines and antibodies to attack the virus, and anti-inflammatories and ICU interventions to treat symptoms and manage patients.
“Our hospitals are living laboratories as clinicians, researchers and scientists become increasingly familiar with SARS-CoV-2. There is already a spectacular level of scientific research underway.
“In Ireland we are already playing our part. Public hospitals, 3rd level institutions, biotech start-ups and major pharmaceutical corporations are pursuing various lines of enquiry. With the adequate support and resource, the potential is there to do more.
“In recent days there has been interest in the potential of the BCG to provide increased immunity to Covid-19. Prof. Luke O’Neill has called on the Government to consider providing BCG booster shots to everyone over the aged of 70. I would add to that and ask the Government to consult with the medical and scientific community here to explore the possibility of leading out on the effort to identify and trial potential vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, perhaps including BCG. We should invoke the spirit of Noel Browne in the fight against this virus.
“In the interest of public health the State should lead the way, work with partners in the not-for-profit and private sector, and any successful vaccine should be made freely available to all.
“We can be proud of the tremendous talent we have in the Irish research community. We should provide them with the resources and supports necessary to allow them shine.”