Tests on mixed COVID-19 vaccines may start in a few weeks.

The testing may be carried out both using vaccines that are currently available in the country, and those that are in the pipeline.
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India will soon start testing the consequences of mixing two different Covid-19 vaccines and study its feasibility if it helps in boosting immunity response, create antibodies to the virus. The scientists will conduct the experiments using the vaccines already available in the market and those in the pipeline.

According to Dr. N K Arora, chairman of the Covid-19 working group under the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). Eight vaccines will be mixed and matched during the testing, three currently DGCI approved vaccines Serum Institute’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, and Russian Sputnik V.

The clinical experimentation process will take place under the collaboration of the vaccine makers and the Indian Council of Medical research The tests will try to find out whether the vaccines can be given together, one dose of each, and if so which one should be administered first and which ones go next. The process will also study if a vaccine cocktail can provide more protection against SARS-Cov-2, said Dr. Arora.

Various factors will be taken into account here, like proper research study in actual field conditions to study the mixing of vaccines. The aim is to find if mixing them and to what extent can provide better immunity without any adverse effects, Dr. Arora pointed out. Although both the vaccines individually are safe to be administered the objective now will be to see if they are safe and effective with each other. However, he emphasized the fact that not every vaccine will be able to undergo the mix and max process.

The Covid-19 working group, NTAGI, and National Expert Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration (NEGVAC) have proposed the feasibility of mixing vaccines at every level, said Dr. Arora. The trials after mixing the vaccines will be conducting in the country’s existing immunisation program, he added.

At present, there are six Covid vaccines in the pipeline, SII’s Covax, Zyndus Vadila’s ZyCov-D, Biological E’s Corbevax, Bio E’s version of Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine, Genova’s mRNA vaccine, and Bharat Biotech’s intranasal Covid-19 vaccine. Pfizer is also in talks with the government to bring it to the Indian market this year.

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