A National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) study has found that mixing the AstraZeneca and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines offered better protection against the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 than two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The combination led to a better immunoglobulin G (IgG) response and a higher level of neutralizing antibodies against the Delta variant, NTUH Department of Medical Education director Sheng Wang-huei (盛望徽) said yesterday.
The study, conducted from June to August, tested the antibody levels of 400 vaccine recipients 14 and 28 days after their second dose, Sheng said.
Photo: Yang Yuan-ting, Taipei Times
Participants were divided into four groups — those who got two AstraZeneca jabs eight weeks apart; those who first got the AstraZeneca jab and then the Moderna jab eight weeks later; those who first got the Moderna jab and then the AstraZeneca jab four weeks later; and those who got two Moderna doses four weeks apart, Sheng said.
They were aged 20 to 65, and 75 percent were female, the hospital said.
Those who got two AstraZeneca doses had IgG levels of below 500 binding antibody units per milliliter (BAU/ml) after 14 days, it said.
That compares with recipients of the AstraZeneca/Moderna combination, who had IgG levels exceeding 2,500 BAU/ml, and those who got two Moderna doses, who had IgG levels exceeding 4,000 BAU/ml.
AstraZeneca recipients had levels of virus neutralizing antibodies of less than 50 international units per milliliter (IU/ml) in both blood tests, it said.
Those who received the AstraZeneca/Moderna combination had levels of 300IU/ml after 14 days, it said.
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy chief of the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) medical response division, said that people who received two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine should not to be concerned about their protection from the virus.
The study was based on an interval of only eight weeks between the AstraZeneca doses, while overseas studies have shown that antibody levels are higher when the interval between the doses is larger, he said.
Separately yesterday, the CECC said mix-and-match vaccinations that begin today would run until Wednesday next week, instead of until tomorrow, as originally planned.
By 4pm yesterday, 180,000 people had made appointments to get their second dose in the mix-and-match program, it said.
Taiwan yesterday reported 10 new cases of COVID-19, all contracted overseas, and no deaths from the disease, the CECC said.
The cases were three Taiwanese and seven foreigners — from Indonesia, Mongolia, Vietnam and the Philippines, it said.
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