‘Mix match’ COVID-19 vaccine approach under consideration following promising results

UK – The UK based Com-Cov study, involving trial usage of two different COVID-19 vaccines, that began early this year has brought back positive with data showing it is still potent against protecting an individual from the virus.

This is the ever first trial in the world to evaluate the effects of using different COVID-19 vaccines for the first and second dose within a two-dose vaccination regimen.

It is designed to monitor the impact of the different dosing regimens on immune responses and is being run by the National Immunization Schedule Evaluation Consortium (NISEC) across eight National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supported sites.

At the start of the study, participants were given either the standard two doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines or a combination of the two.

Out of the trials, researchers found that both mixed schedules induced high antibody levels against the SARS-CoV-2 virus when doses were administered four weeks apart.

In this study, it is also noted that the order in which the vaccines were administered made a difference as administering the AZ/Oxford vaccine followed by the Pfizer/BioNTech jab induced higher antibodies and T-cell responses compared to Pfizer/BioNTech followed by a dose of the AZ/Oxford vaccine.

Protection against COVID-19 offered by both of these regimens was also higher than the licensed two-dose AZ/Oxford vaccine schedule.

The highest antibody response was observed after the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine schedule, with the highest T cell response seen with a first dose of the AZ/Oxford vaccine followed by Pfizer/BioNTech.

This study and its findings will prove vital to the current state of the virus globally with vaccination campaigns facing set backs due to a vaccine shortage crisis.

Currently, just 10.7 % of the population around the globe have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with 23.2% at least receiving a single dose.

This is data which shows that the globe is far from eradicating the disease because according WHO, just last week, the number of new COVID-19 cases remained similar to the previous week with over 2.6 million new cases and 57 000 new deaths being reported globally.

The world is at the moment still recording an average of over 370,000 cases everyday with the cumulative number now exceeding 180 million cases.

This week, the African region recorded a sharp increase in incidence (33%) and mortality (42%) when compared to the previous week which if compared to other regions globally, shows that Africa might become a new hot zone of the pandemic.

The usage of two different vaccines under the mix & match approach could help most African states expedite their vaccination campaign owing to the fact that they receive different vaccines from different nations under the COVAX program.

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