The Drugs Controller General of India has granted permission for a research study to analyse mixing a dose of each of the two vaccines against the Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin and Covidshield. The research and its clinical trials will be conducted by Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.
In a press brief on Tuesday, Dr. VK Paul, Niti Aayog was quoted saying that permission has been granted for a research study at CMC Vellore on the mixing of vaccine doses.
The Subjects Experts Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation had recommended that research be conducted in this regard at CMC in Vellore in the southern state. The proposed trial will involve 300 volunteers being given a dose of each of Covaxin and Covishield.
The research study will aim to determine whether a person can be given two different vaccine shots, one each of Covishield and Covaxin to complete the vaccination course against the coronavirus disease.
The proposed study will be different from the one recently conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The medical research body concluded that combining two different shots is safe and effective.
In the study, the ICMR research had analysed an accidental mixing of Covishield and Covaxin in a village in Uttar Pradesh, in May this year. The incident saw recipients being administered Covaxin as the second dose, six weeks after they received Covishield as first.
After analysing it, the medical research body found that combining two different Covid-19 vaccines gives a better immune response than two doses of the same vaccine.
According to experts, the combination of two different vaccines is a way to tackle vaccine shortages. However, they also warned that more studies are needed to reach a definitive conclusion to determine the efficacy of this method in preventing Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the expert committee had also recommended the mixing of Covaxin and a nasal vaccine candidate (BBV154) that is being developed by Bharat Biotech. However, the DCGI is yet to approve the proposed study.