Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )
The Oxford researchers will measure antibody and T-cell responses, including possible side effects. The researchers plan to have over 50 year-olds in greater numbers who are reportedly more susceptible to the virus.
As several countries grapple with vaccine shortages, British researchers said today that they will study immune response to coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca combining it in a two-shot schedule.
The Oxford researchers added that combining the vaccines would help them to identify whether it can be rolled out with greater efficiency. The study will involve doses of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine followed by AstraZeneca with intervals of 4 and 12 weeks. The data is set to be published in June this year with at least 800 participants set to take part who are already being recruited.
The researchers will measure antibody and T-cell responses, including possible side effects. The researchers plan to have over 50 year-olds in greater numbers who are reportedly more susceptible to the virus.
British government's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan van-Tam said: "Given the inevitable challenges of immunising large numbers of the population against COVID-19 and potential global supply constraints, there are definite advantages to having data that could support a more flexible immunisation programme."
"It is also even possible that by combining vaccines, the immune response could be enhanced giving even higher antibody levels that last longer," Tam added.
Britain was the first western nation to kick off the vaccination drive in early December with the European Union starting its drive on December 27. However, there has been a shortage of Pfizer vaccines in Europe in recent weeks leading several nations to temporarily halt operations.
Britain is the worst-hit country in Europe with over 3.8 million COVID-19 cases and 109, 547 fatalities with most of the country in a partial lockdown.
The coronavirus crisis deepened over Christmas in England after the British government announced the arrival of South African variant which it said was 70 per cent more transferable.