Patients To Be Given Two Different Vaccines In ‘Mix And Match’ Trial

by : Hannah Smith on : 08 Dec 2020 15:24
Patients To Be Given Two Different Vaccines In 'Mix And Match' TrialPA Images

The UK today became the first country to roll out a clinically approved COVID-19 vaccine to members of the public, and it looks like the country already has plans for a new phase of vaccine research to begin early next year.

A trial is set to offer patients a combination of two different vaccines, as researchers look to test whether ‘mixing and matching’ doses can generate a better immune response.


The trial will use the Pfizer vaccine, which began being rolled out to health-care workers and the vulnerable elderly today, December 8, and the yet-to-be approved AstraZeneca vaccine.

PA Images

Kate Bingham, who heads up the UK’s vaccine taskforce, told Business Insider:

The idea is that you can maximise the strength of that immune response to protect people.

It means mix and matching vaccines. So you do a prime with one vaccine and then the second — whether it’s 28 days or two months or whatever the agreed periods would be — would be with a different vaccine.


It’s important to stress that this ‘mix and match’ approach will only be tested on trial participants, with everyone else given the standard dosage, BBC News reports. The trial is expected to begin once the AstraZeneca vaccine is officially approved, most likely in January 2021. Bingham also confirmed that the Moderna vaccine would be included in the trial if it gets the go ahead from UK regulators.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were developed using a new type of vaccine technology known as ‘mRNA’, which triggers a stronger antibody response than regular vaccines. Both companies have reported a 95% efficacy rate in clinical trials.

vaccinePA Images

The AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, is a traditional ‘viral-based’ vaccine, which generates bigger response at a cellular level. AstraZeneca says its vaccine is 62% effective if patients get two full doses, but up to 90% effective if they are given a half-strength version of the first dose.


Bingham said that the different approach of the two vaccines meant that combining them could potentially offer increased protection from the virus

Speaking at the launch of a report on her taskforce’s progress, she said:

Antibodies block the uptake of viruses into cells and the cellular T-cells identify those cells that have been infected and take them out. You ideally want to have both.

The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 100 million from AstraZeneca. It’s not clear if any other countries have plans to conduct similar trials.


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Topics: Science, Coronavirus, COVID, Trial, vaccine


Business Insider and 1 other
  1. Business Insider

    The Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots will be combined in a 'mix and match' trial to see if the 2 vaccines together produce a stronger immune response

  2. BBC News

    'Mix-and-match' coronavirus vaccines to be tested