In what could be a remarkable breakthrough, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has recently revealed that the combination of Covaxin and Covishield vaccines has produced better results.
“Immunisation with a combination of an adenovirus vector platform-based vaccine followed by inactivated whole virus vaccine was not only safe but also elicited better immunogenicity,” said the study.
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Vaccination drive in India
In India, the vaccination drive against COVID-19 began with two vaccines — AstraZeneca’s ChAdOx1-Nov-19 (named Covishield in India) and inactivated whole virion BBV152 (Covaxin). A homologous prime-boost approach was followed.
However, under the national program, 18 individuals unintentionally received Covishield as the first jab and Covaxin as the second. In its study, the ICMR has compared the safety and immunogenicity profile of these persons against that of individuals receiving either Covishield or Covaxin.
Caution by WHO
The World Health Organisation had previously released a warning against the mixing of vaccines, saying there was very, limited information on the mix-and-match of vaccines.
People were warned against mixing and matching vaccines from different manufacturers by the WHO. They called it a “dangerous trend” as there was little data available about its impact on a person’s health.
Limitations and strengths to the study
The Council did mention that there are few limitations to the recently released study. “The sample size was small and the participants were put under a short follow-up period of only 60-70 days after immunization with the first dose and baseline serological and immunological data of the participants not available,” it said.
However, it added that there are several major positives in the study. “This is the first report of heterologous immunization with an adenovirus vector-based and an inactivated whole virion vaccine in humans demonstrating safety and significantly improved immunogenicity,” it noted.
An additionally comparable proportion of solicited adverse events following immunization in the heterologous and homologous groups despite the elderly age group (mean age 62 years) demonstrates the safety of the combination regimen.
COVID in India
Meanwhile, as informed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India recorded 39,070 new COVID-19 cases and 491 related deaths on Sunday (August 8, 2021).
Since the pandemic started, the country has registered a total of 3.19 Crore COVID infections and has had 4,27,862 fatalities.