TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A leading hospital in Taiwan has begun a clinical trial of mixing and matching AstraZeneca (AZ) and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to determine whether such an approach provokes a potent immune response against the virus.
The trial is being carried out by National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH), led by Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), an infectious disease expert and specialist advisory panel convener at the Central Epidemic Command Center. It will provide a source of reference as the country debates whether such a mix works.
The experiment will be divided into four groups, each involving 100 NTUH workers. A draw will be conducted to decide who belongs to which group.
Group 1 and 2 will be administered AZ and then Moderna doses, four weeks and eight weeks apart, respectively. Group 3 will be given two AZ shots eight weeks apart, while Group 4 will receive two Moderna shots, also eight weeks apart, reported Liberty Times.
Though of a small-scale, the trial will help paint a clearer picture about the safety, immunogenicity, and side effects from a combination of the two vaccines. It will take a couple of weeks for preliminary data regarding neutralizing antibodies and cell-mediated immunity to be available.
Research has emerged that mixing AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines elicits a stronger immune response than two jabs of either vaccine, according to Nature. Moderna and BioNTech are both messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.