Mixing of Covishield, COVAXIN vaccines gives positive results: ICMR study
A study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has indicated that mixing and matching of COVID-19 vaccines Covishield and COVAXIN can yield better results. The study was reportedly conducted on 18 people in Uttar Pradesh between May and June, who were by mistake inoculated with two doses of these two different vaccines. The study, however, is yet to be peer-reviewed.
Mixing of vaccines of two different platforms is safe: ICMR
The study says immunization with a combination of an adenovirus-based vaccine followed by the inactivated whole-virion-based vaccine isn't only safe but also provides better immunity against the virus. "Such mixed regimens will also help to overcome the challenges of shortfall...and remove hesitancy around vaccines in people's mind that could have genesis in programmatic 'errors' especially in settings where multiple....vaccines are being used," it said.
Covishield, COVAXIN based on two different vaccine platforms
COVAXIN—based on the whole virion-inactivated platform—has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in partnership with the ICMR. Meanwhile, Covishield—an adenovirus-based vaccine—has been developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and is manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).
India mulls mixing vaccine doses based on a same platform
India's COVID-19 working group National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is reportedly considering mixing different vaccines if both doses are based on a similar platform. This means one can mix adenovirus-based vaccines such as Covishield and Sputnik vaccines for two-dose inoculations. Similarly, mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna jabs could also be mixed. Officials said the final decision will be taken after considering scientific evidence.
Government clarified no such recommendation made by NTAGI
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry in Rajya Sabha clarified that NTAGI has not made any recommendation to mix and match two different vaccines. In a written reply, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said the scientific study on the subject is still evolving.
India's COVID-19 expert panel recommended mixing Covishield, COVAXIN
Last month, the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) had recommended conducting clinical trials on mixing and matching of Covishield and COVAXIN doses. It recommended that the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, be permitted to conduct trials for the same. This will be the proper clinical trial to examine the effectiveness of mixing the two vaccines.
What did WHO say on mix and match of vaccines?
In its interim recommendation last month, the World Health Organization said a combination of recombinant vaccines like Covishield and Sputnik does not require an additional dose of either vaccine. It also said that immune responses after the first dose of a recombinant jab followed by an mRNA vaccine showed higher neutralizing antibody levels than two doses of recombinant or mRNA vaccines.
WHO Chief Scientist had warned against mix and match
Earlier in July, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan had warned against mixing and matching of COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, saying, "We're in a data-free, evidence-free zone here as far as mix-and-match."