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Taiwan starts study on efficacy of mixing AZ, Moderna COVID vaccines

Data about safety, side effects, immune response available in a couple of weeks

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Elderly residents rest after AstraZeneca vaccination at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei, Taiwan.

Elderly residents rest after AstraZeneca vaccination at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei, Taiwan. (AP photo)

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.


Updated : 2021-09-21 11:37 GMT+08:00