AIIMS chief says mixing vaccines can boost immunity, but more data required
AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) chief Dr Randeep Guleria has said that there is potential in mixing two COVID-19 vaccines to generate better immunity against the virus. However, he added that more research is needed to determine the level of effectiveness of the two different vaccines against COVID-19 in order to make an informed decision for infected patients.
In a recent interview with NDTV, AIIMS chief Dr Guleria said that some data suggest mixing two vaccines may lead to better immunity and antibody protection, while other data suggest it may result in slightly higher side effects.
Explaining that India is going to have more vaccines in the near future, including Pfizer, Moderna, and the Zydus Cadilas’ vaccine, more data is needed to assess which combination will work better to achieve the desired results.
“Which combination is better is something we don’t know at this time… but yes initial studies suggest it may be an option,” he told NDTV.
Last month, the government said it will be conducting tests on mixing two different vaccines to analyse the feasibility of the new concoction in enhancing immunity against the novel Coronavirus.
Speaking to the media, Dr NK Arora, chairman of the COVID-19 working group under the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI),had said that India will be using at least eight vaccines to ascertain the right combination. These vaccines will include SII’s Covishield Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russian-made Sputnik V
Some countries are already administering two mixed vaccines to people after early trials indicated safe and effective results against the virus among some combinations. At least three studies have found that a combination of two different vaccines produces strong immune responses in fighting the virus.
In a Spanish study, more than 400 people were given a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine eight weeks after the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. As per the results of the blood tests, only a few developed side effects from the blend, while the majority of them experienced a strong antibody response two weeks after taking the second vaccine dose.
Amid concerns over a potential third COVID-19 wave in India, the health authorities are expecting at least six more vaccines to be available by September, including Zydus-Cadilla’s Zycov-D and SII-Johnson & Johnson’s Covovax. Clinical trials conducted by the country’s healthcare authorities of these vaccines have reportedly shown promising results.
As of June 24, India has administered more than 307 million vaccine doses toeligible groups, as the union government kickstarted the centralised free vaccination policy earlier this week.