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COVID-19 vaccine interchangeability, phase-III J&J trials to be discussed at expert panel meet

The subject expert committee will also take up the application for the clinical trials for Phase II and III of Biological E’s COVID-19 vaccine for the pediatric population.

July 29, 2021 / 05:52 PM IST
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Important discussions regarding coronavirus vaccines are on the table, as the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) is scheduled to meet on July 29.  The committee will be discussing the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccine doses and the final phase of trials of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose jabs, reported News 18.

The expert panel will review the interchangeability protocol of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Serum Instititues' Covishiled- the two major vaccines being administered currently. There have been discussions around the supposed increased efficiency of mixing two different vaccines as the coronavirus continues to mutate and evolve.

The application of ‘interchangeability’ or mixing study protocol of the two vaccines has been moved by CMC Vellore.

The discussion on this becomes more prominent, as only a month ago German Chancellor Angela Merkel received two different vaccines. She was first administered AstraZeneca, following which her second jab was the Moderna Vaccine.

Several medical studies are underway to determine if the process could boost immunity or make a difference in common post-vaccination symptoms.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The committee will also discuss the application of Phase III clinical trials of Jannsen-Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier this month, on July 2, Johnson & Johnson said that its single-shot vaccine has generated a strong and persistent activity against the Delta variant of the virus.

The SEC will also take up the application for the clinical trials for Phase II & III of Biological E’s COVID-19 vaccine for the pediatric population.

The application for interchangeability study protocol of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Adenoviral Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine BBV154 by Bharat Biotech will also be presented to the expert group​, sources told News18.
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