Oxford University led a study that discovered a "robust" immune response from the body when two different coronavirus vaccines are mixed and used together. The researchers particularly used the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines.
The Com-COV study focuses on determining the feasibility of injecting two different vaccine shots into a patient for a stronger immunity against the COVID-19 virus, considering the first injection as the "prime" vaccination and the second shot as the "booster" vaccine.
Mixing Coronavirus Vaccines
Researchers observed that alternating doses of different vaccine brands produced stronger protection against the disease. However, they also found out that the order of injections caused a variation in the efficacy of the mixing of vaccines. The stronger immune response resulted from an initial shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine followed by the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.
The study observed vaccinations in patients who were spread four weeks apart, and the data for a 12-week dose interval experiment is due soon. On Monday, the researchers published their latest discoveries on the Lancet preprint.
The researchers noted how a mix of vaccines of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines produced high concentrations of SARS-CoV2 antibodies when injected with a four-week interval, CNBC reported.
Health officials worldwide could use the information to potentially develop a more flexible process of injecting citizens with various vaccine brands, said Matthew Snape, associate professor in pediatrics and vaccinology at the University of Oxford and chief investigator on the trial.
Snape said the stronger immune response from a mixed vaccine was a positive sign for health experts worldwide. However, he noted that vaccination programs should maintain their regular processes and not mix vaccines all the time unless it has been proven to work effectively and safely, NBC News reported.
Flexible Vaccination Programs
Using two injections of the same vaccine were discovered to provide sufficient protection against the COVID-19 virus. Health officials recorded the highest antibody response in patients who were given two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They also discovered that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced the highest T-cell response in patients.
Currently, the UK and U.S. are distributing and administering coronavirus vaccines that stimulate a person's immune systems into producing antibodies to fight against the COVID-19 infection. Snape gave emphasis on the production of antibodies from white blood cells and concluded that T-cells play crucial roles in preventing infection. He also said that the information provides key guidelines for the potential use of mixed vaccines.
So far, the UK has been praised for its quick and effective vaccination program spreading throughout the country. Authorities were able to decisively and quickly distribute vaccines and have now successfully administered first shots to all residents over the age of 18 years.
About 84.1% of all UK adults have been given their first dose, and 61.6% had already been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19. With easy access to COVID-19 vaccines, the UK officials do not have any plans to alter the schedule of doses, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, said during a news release.
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