India is likely to begin a study on the feasibility of mixing two different vaccines in few weeks, said the chief of the Centre’s COVID-19 working group on Monday.
Dr NK Arora, who is the chairman of the COVID working group under the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), said that the country is planning to examine if mixing vaccine doses of two different manufacturers helps boost the immune response to the virus.
“India may soon start in few weeks testing the feasibility of a regimen that mixes two different doses of COVID vaccines to see if it helps boost the immune response to the virus,” said the central panel chief.
Arora further said that by August India will have 20 to 25 vaccine doses per month and another 5 to 6 crore doses from other manufacturing units or abroad. “The objective is to vaccinate 1 crore people every day,” he added.
Centre rules out adverse effect of mixing 2 vaccines
The Centre recently ruled out any “significant adverse effect” if the second dose of a different COVID-19 vaccine is administered while saying that reaching a firm opinion on this will need “more scrutiny and understanding”.
The clarification came after 20 people in Uttar Pradesh’s Siddharthnagar district, who had been given Covishield in the first dose, were accidentally administered Covaxin.
As per the existing guidelines, both doses administered to beneficiaries should be of the same vaccine.
VK Paul, NITI Aayog (health) member and the head of India’s Covid task force, had said that “scientifically and theoretically” it is possible that the COVID vaccine doses can be from two different manufacturers. He, however, said that in-depth research and “robust scientific evidence” was needed to check whether mixing vaccines is effective.
Presently, two made-in-India vaccines — Covishield manufactured by SII and Covaxin of Bharat Biotech — are being administered to people in India under the COVID-19 immunisation programme.
The Russian Sputnik V is the third vaccine to get approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use and is being used in a few private hospitals.