Can Covishield and Covaxin be mixed? As expert panel gives nod for trial, here is what we know about this
Covishield and Covaxin are two different types of vaccines both of which have been manufactured in India. There have been cases of individuals being mistakenly administered with one Covishield dose with another Covaxin dose. And such cases did not report any major reaction so far. Experts have time and again warned against mixing up vaccine doses, but at the same time emphasised that there is no need to panic if that happens by the mistake of healthcare officials. Several countries have already taken up studies on the issue of mixing two vaccine doses and the results have not been negative. The subject expert committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has recently recommended a trial of mixing Covishield and Covaxin. Reports said Christian Medical College in Vellore wants to pursue this study and it will soon take place on 300 healthy volunteers.
What we need to know
Covishield and Covaxin have been developed differently. Covishield, which is known as the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine worldwide, has been made from a weakened version of the common cold virus. The vaccine, once administered, teaches the body's immune system to fight the real SARS-CoV-2 virus. On the other hand, Covaxin is developed from real coronaviruses which are inactivated.
Can they be mixed?
Earlier, Indian experts said that mixing Covaxin and Covishield, though they are two different types of vaccines, is theoretically possible. In May, Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul said more studies are required to recommend the mixing of vaccines.
As vaccination across the world has gained pace, several studies are being conducted on the mixing of vaccines. For example, AstraZeneca and Pfizer have been mixed for a trial. In the latest development, Sputnik V has been mixed with the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine and no serious adverse events were reported.
Mixing of vaccine doses and mixing up of vaccine doses
Mixing of vaccine doses requires more study the first of which will be taken up in India as the expert panel has given the nod. This will also be the first study on whether Covishield and Covaxin can be mixed. While mixing of vaccines doses is gaining warm response from the medical fraternity across the world, experts have warned that this decision should not be taken by individuals. World Health Organization recently said individuals should not take any decision on mixing vaccine doses. The recommendation will only come from the highest drug authority of any country.