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UK to test combining Pfizer & AstraZeneca vaccines

On Thursday, the United Kingdom (UK) launched a trial to assess the immune responses generated if doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc are combined in a two-shot regimen.

The British researchers responsible for the idea said data on vaccinating people with the two different types of coronavirus vaccines could help understanding of whether shots can be rolled out with greater flexibility around the world. The data for initial analysis will be generated by June.

Currently, both Pfizer and BioNTech and the adenovirus viral vector vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca are being rolled out in UK.

The researchers said the recruitment for the study will start on Thursday with over 800 participants expected to take part.

The researchers said that the trial is not expected to assess the overall efficacy of the shot combinations, but antibody and T-cell responses will be measured, as well as any unexpected side effects will be monitored.

Matthew Snape, an Oxford vaccinologist who is leading the trial, said initial results could inform vaccine deployment in the second half of the year.

While talking to reporters Snape said,

“We will get some results through, we expect, by June or thereabouts that will inform the use of booster doses in the general population.”

People over the age of 50 who may be at higher risk than younger people and have not been vaccinated already will be recruited for the trial.

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