New Delhi: Based on growing evidence that mix and match of vaccines is “not only safe but also produces a strong immune response, India is now considering giving approval for mixing of Russia’s Sputnik V and Oxford–AstraZeneca’s Covishield for COVID-19 vaccination. If this is allowed, people will be free to choose the first dose of one vaccine and the second dose of another.
According to a report published in Mint, the COVID-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is debating the idea of giving permission of mixing vaccines, but with a restriction that both doses will have to be from the same platforms. The panel believes that it will also resolve the issue of vaccine supply shortage in the country.
On July 29, the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) had met to discuss some crucial issues regarding the updation of the existing COVID-19 protocol and had recommended mixing vaccine doses.
The SEC was in favour of mixing and matching Covishield and Covaxin vaccine doses, CNN-News18 quoted sources as saying, adding that it has recommended that permission be granted to Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, for conducting a clinical trial on mixing of Covaxin and Covishield.
The expert panel had discussed in detail the interchangeability protocol of Covaxin and Covishield. The application was moved by CMC Vellore.
A section of experts advocated that using vaccines based on two different platforms could trigger a better immune response in a beneficiary.
The mix-and-match strategy is known as a heterologous prime and boost and has been used in the past against diseases such as Ebola and AIDS.