COVID-19 Update | April 28, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | April 28, 2023

April 28, 2023

COVID-19 Update | April 28, 2023

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, 2023. Notable advancements include:

  • The bivalent booster targeting COVID-19’s omicron variant is found to protect against the newest variant, arcturus, and prevents hospitalization more than half the time.
  • The use of antiviral Molnupiravir was tied to lowering the risk of long COVID-19 in high-risk patients.
  • A platform trial of therapies repurposed for COVID-19 has found the combination of two drugs to be useful for COVID-19 treatments.

Recent News

  • Is the new COVID-19 booster for you? Our medical analyst explains
    CNN – April 26, 2023
    Is it time for another COVID-19 vaccine booster? It’s the question many people are asking their doctors, given what happened last week — the US Food and Drug Administration amended their authorization to allow for a second bivalent booster for certain individuals most vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID-19. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subsequently signed off on the FDA’s update and added additional clinical considerations to guide healthcare providers and patients. CNN medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health answered some questions. She previously served as Baltimore’s health commissioner.
  • Polyclonal Antibody Therapy Looks Promising in COVID-19 Trial
    Medical Professionals’ Reference – April 26, 2023
    Topline results were announced from a phase 3 study evaluating SAB-185, a human IgG1 (polyclonal) antibody therapeutic candidate, for the treatment of non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19 at high risk for severe outcomes. The National Institutes of Health ACTIV-2 clinical trial was initiated to evaluate the safety and efficacy of different therapies to reduce the duration of symptoms of COVID-19 in adult outpatients. An analysis of data showed that 66% of patients treated with SAB-185 reached full symptom resolution for at least 4 days by day 28 compared with 50% of those who received the monoclonal antibody combination REGEN-COV®.
  • Protein-based COVID-19 Vaccine Over 79% Effective
    Precisions Vaccinations – April 26, 2023
    The JAMA Network today published the results from an Original Investigation on the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. In collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services, Novavax researchers assessed the neutralizing antibody response to its COVID-19 vaccine in a phase 3 clinical trial among adolescents from April 26 to June 5, 2021. Vaccine efficacy was terminated at 79.5% and reactogenicity were mainly mild to moderate and transient, with no identified safety concerns. These findings indicate that the protein-based NVX-CoV2373 is safe, immunogenic, and efficacious in preventing COVID-19 in 12 to 17-year-olds.
  • Research uncovers antibodies that are still effective against new variants of COVID-19
    News Medical Life Sciences – April 26, 2023
    In a new investigation, scientists from La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) have shown how antibodies, collected from this clinical study volunteer, bind to the COVID-19 “Spike” protein to neutralize the virus. Although studies have shown antibodies bound to Spike before, this new research reveals how the original Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could prompt the body to produce antibodies against the later Omicron variants of COVID-19. The researchers also capture highly detailed, 3D structures of three promising neutralizing antibodies bound to Spike. This important work shows exactly where Spike is vulnerable to human antibodies and how future vaccines and antibody therapeutics might exploit these weaknesses.
  • Biomarker pattern found in kids with COVID 19-linked inflammatory syndrome
    National Institutes of Health – April 25, 2023
    Children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome — a rare condition linked with the virus that causes COVID-19 — have biochemical indicators of cell injury and cell death that are distinct from other children with COVID-19, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. To conduct the study, researchers analyzed 416 blood samples from 237 patients. Their analysis enabled them to distinguish between patients with MIS-C and COVID-19. They believe their findings could lead to the development of tests that allow clinicians to distinguish between MIS-C and other conditions involving widespread inflammation, such as Kawasaki disease, septic shock, and severe COVID-19, and to the development of more appropriate treatments for each.
  • Molnupiravir tied to lower risk of long COVID-19 in high-risk patients
    University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – April 25, 2023
    Among COVID-19 patients at risk for severe illness, the use of the antiviral molnupiravir (Lagevrio) within 5 days of infection was linked to reduced odds of persistent symptoms and related hospitalization and death, regardless of vaccination status or previous infections, finds a US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) study. Led by VA Saint Louis Health Care System researchers, the study was published today in BMJ. The research involved 229,286 veterans who tested positive for COVID-19 from January 5, 2022, to January 15, 2023, and had at least one risk factor for severe disease. The data were collected from 171 VA medical centers and 1,112 outpatient sites.
  • Booster protection against new COVID-19 variant ‘arcturus’
    KOAT – April 24, 2023
    A new COVID-19 variant is now spreading through the United States. That new variant is called arcturus, and doctors say it’s a version of omicron. When the original COVID-19 vaccines were given, doctors said a booster would be needed four to six months after the shots. Dr. Vesta Sandoval said, “those vaccines were called monovalent vaccines.” In September of 2022, however, a new “bivalent” vaccine was approved, specifically targeting omicron. Dr. Sandoval said this bivalent vaccine protects against the newest variant and prevents hospitalization more than half the time.
  • Combining Fluvoxamine and Inhaled Budesonide for COVID-19 Treatment
    Drug Topics – April 24, 2023
    A randomized platform trial of therapies repurposed for COVID-19 has found the combination of fluvoxamine and inhaled budesonide potentially useful, and more likely to prevent progression of early symptoms than either agent alone. “Our study is, to our knowledge, among the first to evaluate a drug combination for treatment of ambulatory patients with COVID-19 in a randomized trial,” indicated principal investigator Edward Mills, PhD, Health Research Methods, Evidence & Impact, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues. The TOGETHER placebo-controlled platform trial commenced in June, 2020, and has now evaluated 10 drugs for potential repurposing against COVID-19, including hydroxychoroquine, ivermectin and metformin.
  • Scientists Develop Mobile Printer For MRNA Vaccine Patche
    Barron’s – April 24, 2023
    Scientists said they have developed the first mobile printer that can produce thumbnail-sized patches able to deliver mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, hoping the tabletop device will help immunize people in remote regions. While many hurdles remain and the 3D printer is likely years away from becoming available, experts hailed the “exciting” finding. The device prints two-centimetre-wide patches which each contain hundreds of tiny needles that administer a vaccine when pressed against the skin. These “microneedle patches” offer a range of advantages over traditional pokes in the arm, including that they can be self-administered, are relatively painless, could be more palatable to the vaccine-hesitant and can be stored at room temperature for long periods of time.

Rely on California Biotechnology Foundation to monitor breaking news and provide updates on the latest advancements in COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines and treatments.

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If you have any questions about hosting informational briefings for your colleagues serving in the legislature, contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].