Mix-and-match vaccines boost immune response: study

Results of AIG Hospitals’ pilot study released

Mixing of COVID-19 vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) provides higher antibody response and is safe as well, stated the city-based AIG Hospitals, which conducted a pilot study along with researchers from the Asian Healthcare Foundation in November last year.

Hospital chairman D. Nageshwar Reddy stated that a total of 330 healthy volunteers who were not vaccinated and had no history of COVID-19 infection were selected and screened for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies for the study. Of them, only 44 participants did not have COVID-related antibodies.

Other institutes in India which tried to recruit more participants could not find a high number of participants without the antibodies.

Four categories

The 44 participants were divided into four groups. People in group 1 were given two doses of Covishield while those in the second group were given two doses of Covaxin.

For the participants in the third group, the first dose was Covishield, and second dose Covaxin. For the fourth group, Covaxin was administered as the first dose and Covishield as the second dose.

All the 44 participants were tracked for 60 days to monitor any adverse effects in them.

“The most important finding of the study was that the spike-protein neutralising antibodies found in the mixed vaccine groups were significantly higher than the same-vaccine groups,” the hospital informed in a press release.

Dr Nageshwar Reddy, who was one of the researchers, said that the spike-protein neutralising antibodies are the ones that kill the virus and reduce the overall infectivity. “We found that when first and second doses were of different vaccines, the spike-protein antibody response was four times higher compared to two doses of the same vaccine,” he said.

Data from the study conducted with the Indian Council for Medical Research is to be considered as a reference study while deciding on the ‘Prevention’ (precautionary) doses starting January 10.T he researchers said that they now intend to expand the sample size.

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