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Medical researchers look into combining vaccines to beat Delta variant



PHOTO: Facebook/กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์

Researchers at the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University are investigating if combining vaccine doses from different brands can boost immunity against the Delta variant. The move comes as Sinovac, the vaccine widely administered in the government’s rollout, shows declining efficacy against the highly contagious mutation first reported in India.

Prominent virologist Yong Poovorawan says researchers are looking at a combination of Sinovac and AstraZeneca, adding that results should be available within a few months. It’s hoped that the combination of different brands could increase immunity and offer better protection against infection.

The Bangkok Post reports that the study involves administering Sinovac as the first dose, followed 4 weeks later by a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Yong says the results will be submitted to the government for consideration.

“In laboratory tests, we have seen very satisfying results. But we are still very concerned about side-effects.”

Yong says slowing the spread of the Delta variant is vital, pointing out that some people who’ve received 2 doses of either Sinovac or AstraZeneca are showing low immunity. In this instance, he says a third, or booster, shot is needed and, if given at the right time, could give 10 times the immunity.

According to Yong, vaccines worldwide are showing lower efficacy against the Delta variant, which is becoming the dominant variant, replacing the Alpha variant in many countries, including Thailand. He says if transmission is not brought under control, the government’s plan to re-open the country by October will be impossible.

“With the limited vaccines available, what we should do right now is control outbreaks of the Delta variant. The current vaccines (in Thailand) are effective against the Alpha strain. We must vaccinate as fast as possible because all vaccines can reduce the disease’s critical symptoms.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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