The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Wednesday gave a nod for conducting a study on the mixing of doses of Covaxin and Covishield vaccines against COVID-19, sources told CNBC-TV18.
"Permission has been granted for a research study by CMC Vellore (Tamil Nadu) on mixing of vaccines doses," said Dr VK Paul, Niti Aayog during a press briefing on Tuesday.
An expert panel of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on July 29 had recommended granting permission for conducting the study. The trial will involve 300 healthy volunteers.
On August 8, a study by ICMR involving 98 people, 18 of whom had inadvertently received Covishield as the first dose and Covaxin as the second in Uttar Pradesh showed that combining these two COVID-19 vaccines elicited better immunogenicity than two doses of the same vaccine. The study also found that immunisation with a combination of Covishield and Covaxin was safe and the adverse effects were also found to be similar when compared to the same dose regimen. The study titled Serendipitous COVID-19 Vaccine-Mix in Uttar Pradesh, India: Safety and Immunogenicity Assessment of a Heterologous Regime' has been uploaded on medRxiv, a preprint server and is yet to be peer-reviewed.
So, including these 18 individuals who had received one dose of Covishield and the second dose of Covaxin, 40 recipients of two doses of Covishield and 40 recipients of two doses of Covaxin, were recruited in the study. The study duration was from May to June 2021.
The vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated. From February 2, the vaccination drive was opened for frontline workers. The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those over 60 years and aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
From April 1, the vaccination drive was rolled out for people aged 45 and above. The government further expanded the vaccination drive to cover everyone above the age of 18 from May 1.
The cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has reached nearly 52 crore, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday. More than 37 lakh (37,76,765) doses have been administered during the day, according to the 7 pm provisional report.
With inputs from PTI