India may look into vaccine interchangeability trial

If proven effective it could go a long way in enhancing faster coverage, says NITI Aayog member

India can look at initiating trials for interchangeability of different COVID-19 vaccine doses to enhance the efficiency of vaccines and offer longer protection, said a senior health official on Monday.

Speaking about the possibility of a interchangeable dose regime trial, NITI Aayog member (Health) V.K. Paul said: “There is growing scientific interest in the matter worldwide and India too should look into it. This is a biological plausibility and if proven effective it could go a long way in enhancing faster coverage and acting as a better booster dose that can be offered for use.”

Dr. Paul, however, said he wasn’t aware of any specific dates for trial of the proposed regime.

“India is working at enhancing its vaccine coverage and by next month we will see a significant jump in the availability of vaccines. People must come forward and take the vaccines to ensure that we don’t allow any more waves in the country. Together we can beat this virus. We have to vaccinate and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour,” he said.

N.K. Arora, chairperson of the Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, said vaccines were never mixed.

“Doses of different vaccine brands are administered as separate doses to complete the schedule. The purpose is improved immune effectiveness, safety and programmatic convenience. This is also called interchangeability. There is no talk of single dose for any vaccine. Vaccine tracking system will help in fine-tuning dose interval for maximum vaccine efficacy,” he said.

India is yet to clear the administering of different vaccines for the initial and booster doses though there are some studies that suggest greater effectiveness of vaccination if doses are mixed. India is currently offering Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V under its vaccination programme.

Source: Read Full Article