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04 Feb 2021 | 11:27

UK launches trial combining different Covid vaccines

(Sharecast News) - The UK has launched the first trial in the world that explores mixing different Covid-19 vaccines for the first and second jab. According to CNBC, the aim of the trial is to see if employing two dose vaccine regimes using different shots is as effective as using those from the same manufacturer, which would give vaccination programs more flexibility.

The trial is being led by the University of Oxford and run by the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium.

"If we do show that these vaccines can be used interchangeably in the same schedule this will greatly increase the flexibility of vaccine delivery, and could provide clues as to how to increase the breadth of protection against new virus strains," Matthew Snape, chief investigator on the trial and associate professor in Paediatrics and Vaccinology at the University of Oxford said on Thursday.

Snape said the study was "tremendously exciting," before adding that "it will provide information vital to the rollout of vaccines in the UK and globally."

The trial, named "Covid-19 Heterologous Prime Boost study", will recruit over 800 volunteers aged 50 and above in England to evaluate the four different combinations of different vaccines.

There are concerns that mixing vaccines could make them less effective but Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Senior Responsible Officer for the study, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said that the research could even show that alternating vaccines could enhance the level of antibodies needed to fight the virus.

"It is also even possible that by combining vaccines, the immune response could be enhanced giving even higher antibody levels that last longer; unless this is evaluated in a clinical trial we just won't know. This study will give us greater insight into how we can use vaccines to stay on top of this nasty disease."
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