Government of India has rolled out COVID-19 vaccine program for individuals who are 18 years of age and above. We plan to study co-administration of Ashwagandha with COVISHIELD vaccine on safety, immunogenicity and protection.
Introduction The government of India has rolled out COVID-19 vaccine program for individuals who are 18 years of age and above and priority is being given to the elderly, and individuals with morbidity. Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (COVISHIELD) is most widely used in India. A large number of Indian people have been consuming various traditional medicines in the hope of better protection against COVID-19 infection. Several studies have reported immunological benefits of Ashwagandha and its potential as vaccine adjuvant. We plan to study co-administration of Ashwagandha with COVISHIELD vaccine on safety, immunogenicity and protection. Methods and analysis We designed a prospective, randomized, double blind, parallel group, placebo controlled, two arm, exploratory study on healthy volunteers receiving the COVISHIELDTM vaccine. In addition to the two dose schedule of COVISHIELD vaccine as per national guidelines, participants will be administered 8gm Ashwagandha or placebo tablets respectively per day. Primary outcome measure is immunogenicity as measured by SARS-CoV-2 spike (S1) and RBD-specific IgG antibody titres. Secondary outcome measures are safety, protective immune response and quality of life measures. Adverse event following immunization will be monitored at each time throughout the study. Participants will be tracked on a daily basis with a user friendly mobile phone application. Following power calculation 600 participants will be recruited per arm to demonstrate superiority by a margin of 7% with 80% power. Study duration is 28 weeks with interim analysis at the end of 12 weeks. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval was obtained through the Central and institutional Ethics Committees. Participant recruitment is expected to commence by August 2021. Results will be presented in conferences and published in preprint followed by peer-reviewed medical journals. Registration details Clinical Trial Registry India (CTRI) Registration Number: CTRI/2021/06/034496. Date of Registration June 30, 2021.