Oxford University announced Thursday that it would start a medical study of alternating doses of Covid-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, the first of its kind.
The study will show whether different doses of Covid – those developed by pharmaceutical companies Astrazeneca and Pfizer / BioNTech – can be used interchangeably to allow greater flexibility in the delivery of vaccines under pressure.
UK Government Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam said the study would provide “better insight” into vaccine use against Covid.
“Given the inevitable challenges of immunizing large numbers of people against Covid-19 and potential global supply shortages, there are clear advantages to having data that could support a more flexible immunization program,” said Van-Tam.
“It is even possible that the combination of vaccines may improve the immune response, resulting in even higher levels of antibodies that last longer,” he added.
The 13-month study compared different combinations of prime and booster doses of the Astrazeneca and Pfizer vaccines every four and 12 weeks.
The UK, the first western country to launch its vaccination program, bucked the international trend by giving vaccines every 12 weeks to give more people a first dose of the vaccine.
Oxford University Professor Matthew Snape described the study as “extremely exciting” and added that it would “provide information that is critical to the adoption of vaccines in the UK and worldwide”.
If the study shows positive results, the UK Independent Medicines Agency would formally assess the safety and effectiveness of any new vaccination regimen before it is introduced to patients.
Disagreements between the UK and the European Union over vaccine supplies have worsened in recent weeks, and Brussels attempted on Thursday to restrict exports of vaccines to Northern Ireland before the plans were quickly abandoned in a U-turn.
In the days that followed, EU member states and the European Commission continued to criticize Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca for its slow vaccine delivery, and the effectiveness of the sting was also questioned.
On Wednesday, the UK government launched a separate study which found that the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University, significantly reduced virus transmission and offered high levels of protection after a single dose.
AstraZeneca and Oxford University said Wednesday that vaccines against newly developed coronavirus variants should be ready by October.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)