COVID-19 Update | April 28, 2022

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | April 28, 2022

April 28, 2022

The California Biotechnology Foundation is committed to keeping you up to date about COVID-19 testing, treatment and prevention advancements. The following resources track what progress has been made as of April 28, 2022. Notable advancements include:

  • Moderna requested authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for babies, toddlers and young children, a highly anticipated step toward making doses more available.
  • The Food and Drug Administration fully approved Gilead’s COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir for children 28 days of age and older, in a bid to protect children too young for vaccination from the Omicron variant.
  • The Biden administration announced plans to nearly double the number of pharmacies that carry Pfizer’s antiviral treatment, Paxlovid to combat COVID-19.

Recent News

  • Moderna seeks authorization of COVID-19 vaccine for youngest childrenWashington Post – April 28, 2022Vaccine maker Moderna requested emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for babies, toddlers and young children — a highly anticipated step toward making shots available to the last group in U.S. society lacking access. Moderna’s announcement will intensify pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to move quickly, as parents, pediatricians and politicians have become increasingly impatient about the lack of vaccines and treatments to protect young children.
  • How Paxlovid came to be: From the germ of an idea to a vital tool against CovidStat – April 28, 2022Paxlovid, which combines a new medicine invented by Pfizer with an old HIV drug, is an oral treatment given as a five-day course. Results unveiled in December generated immediate excitement among public health experts. When given in the first three days of infection to people who had not been vaccinated and were at high risk, it reduced hospitalization and death by an impressive 89%. It was also developed with unprecedented speed. On average, developing a new drug takes 11 years. For Paxlovid, the process took 20 months. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, calls it “the fastest development of a small molecule drug, with clinical validation and high efficacy, in history — no less in the midst of a pandemic.”
  • Pfizer asks FDA to authorize third COVID-19 vaccine shot for children 5 to 11 years oldCNBC – April 26, 2022Pfizer and BioNTech asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The application comes after Pfizer released data earlier this month from a small lab study of blood samples from 30 kids in the age group, which showed a 36-fold increase in antibody levels against the Omicron variant after a third dose compared with two doses of the vaccine. The booster shot is a 10-microgram dose, the same level as the primary vaccination series for the age group. The third shot did not demonstrate any new safety concerns in the trial.
  • Do Vaccines Protect Against Long COVID-19?New York Times – April 26, 2022As the pandemic enters its third year, long COVID-19 has emerged as an increasingly important concern. And many people are wondering whether getting a COVID-19 shot can reduce their chances of developing long-term symptoms. What does the research show so far? The jury is still out, but a growing number of studies suggest that getting a COVID-19 vaccine can reduce — though not eliminate — the risk of longer-term symptoms. The United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency conducted an analysis of eight studies that had been published on the topic before mid-January. It reported that six of the studies found that vaccinated people who became infected with COVID-19 were less likely than unvaccinated patients to develop symptoms of long COVID-19.
  • Biden will make Paxlovid, a highly effective COVID-19 drug, available to more pharmaciesNPR – April 26, 2022There is a new push from the White House to get Paxlovid, a drug which reduces the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization by 90%, into the hands of more Americans. The rollout of the medication has been slow since it was authorized for use in December, failing to reach many Americans eligible for treatment. “It’s pretty clear from the uptake of Paxlovid, and the rate of hospitalizations and deaths over the months that Paxlovid has been available, that there are still some folks who could have benefitted from these medications,” a senior administration official acknowledged on a call with reporters ahead of the announcement. “We can save more lives by getting this medication to more people,” the official said.
  • COVID-19 in California: FDA fully approves 1st COVID-19 treatment drug for kids under 12SF Chronicle – April 25, 2022The Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the antiviral drug remdesivir for treating children under age 12. Though other drugs are available for children under emergency use authorization, remdesivir is the first to be fully approved. The drug is approved for children as young as 28 days, weighing at least 6.6 pounds, who are hospitalized with COVID-19 or at increased risk of severe illness. Remdesivir is made by Gilead Sciences of Foster City.
  • What is Novavax? How This COVID-19 Vaccine Differs From Others, When It Could Be AuthorizedNBC Chicago – April 25, 2022The U.S. could soon have a new COVID-19 vaccine on the market but this one will be different from the others. Novavax asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for adults in late-January and that application remains under review, but the company recently released data surrounding a new trial that could target both flu and COVID-19 at the same time. So what exactly is Novavax and what should you know about the vaccine? Here’s a breakdown. What is the Novavax vaccine and how is it different? The Novavax vaccine differs from Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines in that it relies on an older technology that’s been used for years to make shots for diseases like influenza and pertussis.
  • Could there be a universal COVID-19 vaccine? Experts discuss the possibilitiesYahoo News – April 23, 2022Vaccine experts convened at a conference to debate how future COVID-19 booster shots should be designed to ensure that they provide protection against not only known variants but variants that have yet to emerge. It’s become the million-dollar question as Omicron and its growing family of subvariants have dealt a significant blow to the protection provided by the existing vaccines from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The drugmakers, as well as outside researchers and government scientists, met to discuss the topic at the World Vaccine Congress meeting in Washington, D.C.
  • How many California lives were saved by COVID-19 vaccines? Scientists have an answerLos Angeles Times – April 22, 2022The arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020 marked the start of a new, safer phase of the pandemic. For all that we know of life in the vaccine era — the inequities, the breakthrough infections, the partisan battles over mandates — it’s been hard to know what life would have been like without the shots. A new project from researchers at UC San Francisco in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health draws the clearest picture to date on what the state might have looked like had the vaccines never materialized. In the first 10 months of their availability, COVID-19 vaccines prevented an estimated 1.5 million COVID-19 infections, nearly 73,000 hospitalizations, and almost 20,000 deaths in California, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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If you have any questions about informational briefings contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].