New Delhi: Indian Council Of Medical Research (ICMR) recently revealed that the mix of two vaccines which we have in India to fight COVID-19 – Covishield and Covaxin, can actually yield better results. The study was conducted on 18 people, it is yet to be peer reviewed but it claims that immunisation with the combination of adenovirus vector-based vaccine followed by inactivated whole virus vaccine is not only safe but elicited better immunogenity. To further back this with research, Drugs Controller General Of India (DCGI) has given an approval for study and its clinical trials that will be conducted by Vellore’s Christian Medical College. The proper trial of mixing vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin will be done on 300 more people by the Vellore college.
To get more idea on mixing of two COVID-19 vaccines and how can it help India fight the battle of coronavirus effectively, NDTV speaks with experts.
Talking about the study and its results, Dr Suneela Garg, Member Lancet Commission COVID India Task Force, Advisor ICMR & WHO said,
In the study, we compared the safety and immunogenicity profile of vaccines in the individuals receiving either Covishield or Covaxin. We found that lower and similar adverse events following immunisation in all the groups, which underlined the safety of the combination vaccine regime. The immunogenicity profile against Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants in the group that received two different doses of vaccine was superior.
Explaining how the combination of two vaccines work, Dr Sameer Bhati, Public Health Expert, stated that both Covaxin and Covishield are based on two different formulas, where Covaxin contains dead virus of Covid and instructs the immune system to develop a defence against the virus while the Covishield is based on the virus vector formula where a weak virus of the common cold is used to develop immunity against Covid virus. He said,
Although both vaccines tend to develop the immunity against the same virus. The mixing of two vaccines may be beneficial for the public and may surely result in removing vaccine hesitancy and speed up the vaccination.
However, Dr Bhati added that more detailed and in-depth research must be done on the limitations, as the study is done merely on 18 participants. “For implementation of the same at the national level, it must be analysed more and in detail keeping in mind the variety of population. Also, a detailed study on follow-up period of 60 to 70 days is also required.” he further said.
Dr Anurag Mehrotra, Chairman & Chief Cardiologist, Siddh Hospital said,
If we mix two vaccines, they give a better immunogenicity, the reason behind this is that if we give our body complete exposure to the virus then the body response against the particular disease is better. So, it will be an important milestone, if this finding is found to be beneficial on a large scale. The other reason, why this will be beneficial for India is the fact that anyway we are facing vaccine shortage issue. So, when we are mixing the vaccines, we will be able to immunise a larger chunk of population in the shorter span of time, without the issue of vaccine shortage.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.