UK trial examines hypothesis of mixing different vaccines

As I posted yesterday, when I joined the cohort of those getting the vaccine to over 10 million people, one of my worries was about which vaccine to have related to potential chains of vaccine supply for the second dose. Today, a UK trial has been launched to see if giving people different Covid vaccines for their first and second doses works as well as the current approach of using the same type of vaccine twice.

File picture of someone having vaccine
UK trial to examine mixing vaccines

The idea is to provide more flexibility with vaccine rollout and help deal with any potential disruption to supplies, and scientists say it is possible the new approach could even provide better protection than giving the same jabs. Scientists have good reason to believe the new mixing approach being trialled may prove beneficial – some Ebola immunisation programmes involve mixing different jabs to improve protection.

Currently, official guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says anyone already given the Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca jab as part of the UK’s approved immunisation programme should get the same vaccine for both doses. The Com-Cov study will involve more than 800 volunteers over the age of 50 in England. Some will receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab followed by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or vice versa – four or 12 weeks apart.

The chief investigator, Prof Matthew Snape from the University of Oxford, said the “tremendously exciting study” would provide information vital to the rollout of vaccines in the UK and globally. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that animal studies have shown “a better antibody response with a mixed schedule rather than the straight schedule” of vaccine doses. “It will be really interesting to see if the different delivery methods actually could lead to an enhanced immune response [in humans], or at least a response that’s as good as giving the straight schedule of the same doses. ” click full article

The study is now recruiting candidates for the trial – unfortunately, only people who have NOT had their first dose, as I would have liked to have been considered.

For those not taking part in the trial, the current regimen remains unchanged.

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