The Centre on Tuesday said it needs more data to get a clarity on the mixing of coronavirus vaccines — Covershield and Covaxin — and that a couple of studies have been initiated in this regard. “DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) has given permission to CMC (Christian Medical College), Vellore to start a trial on the mixing of vaccines. A couple of such studies have been initiated. We need more scientific data to get more clarity,” news agency ANI quoted Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, as saying.
In August, the DCGI had approved a study on the mixing of Covishield and Covaxin, two of the three coronavirus vaccines currently available in India. The study was to be conducted by the Christian Medical College.
On July 29, the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation had said that it was in favour of mixing Covishiled and Covaxin to inoculate India’s population and had recommended CMC to conduct a clinical trial on the efficacy of the mixing of the two vaccines.
Pune-based National Institute of Virology had conducted a study on 18 people who had been mistakenly given both Covaxin and Covishield in Uttar Pradesh, and the study found that combining the two vaccines saw better immunogenicity than two doses of the same vaccine.
Canada, Thailand, Vietnam, Bhutan, UK and the US have all allowed the mixing of different vaccine doses. A study in Denmark, combining doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, known as Covishield in India, with Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s jab showed it provided good protection against the Covid-19 virus. A study in Russia showed that mixing Sputnik V, also available in India, with the AstraZeneca vaccine had no serious side effects.
Meanwhile, talking about a possible timeline of the rollout of Biological E’s Covid vaccine, Corbevax, Swarup said it would depend on several factors.
“Biological E is very advanced in its trials. Parallelly their vaccine manufacturing is underway. When the vaccine will actually roll out depends on a number of things. We’re confident it’ll be good as so far it has shown very interesting results,” she said.
Hyderabad-based Biological E is likely to submit the data for phase 1 and 2 clinical trials by the end of September or early October for emergency use authorisation of Corbevax. The vaccine may receive approval based on the interim data of phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials — similar to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.