Mixing of Covishield, Covaxin can give better results, says ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research has revealed that a mix of Covishield and Covaxin, the two main vaccines of India’s Covid vaccination programme, can actually yield better results. Immunization with a combination of first dose of Covishield followed by second dose of Covaxin is not only safe but also elicits better immunogenicity, the ICMR said on Sunday citing its preprint research.

A study was conducted from May to June 2021 on 18 people of Uttar Pradesh’s Siddharth Nagar, who by mistake received two doses of two separate vaccines. According to the finding of the study which is yet to be peer-reviewed 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. Mixing of vaccines is being discussed globally all studies are in favour of mixing two vaccines to increase the protection against future infection. The issue of mixing vaccines is sensitive as World Health Organization has warned that individuals should not decide on mixing vaccines. Covishield, manufactured by Pune’s Serum Institute of India, is the adenovirus vector platform-based vaccine and Covaxin, developed and manufactured by Bharat Biotech and the ICMR, is the whole virus vaccine. Covishield and Covaxin belong to two different type.

The regime for both the vaccines initially included a second homologous booster dose following a priming dose at an interval of four weeks. With gradually emerging evidence, the gap between the two doses of Covishield was increased to six to eight weeks and later to 12 weeks. The programme for immunization against covid-19 in India started with the two vaccines on 16 January.