COVID-19 Update | April 8, 2022

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | April 8, 2022

April 8, 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 8, 2022. Notable advancements include:

  • AstraZeneca’s antibody treatment provides protection against COVID-19 for immunocompromised patients.
  • According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials most vaccinated people will probably require another COVID-19 vaccine booster shot in the fall.

Recent News

  • Some Marin COVID-19 patients get new treatmentEast Bay Times – April 8, 2022A small number of Marin residents who test positive for COVID-19 are being prescribed a pill that reduces their chances of severe illness and hospitalization by about 89%, regardless of vaccine status. The medication, Paxlovid, is one of at least six treatments for COVID-19 that have been approved for emergency use in the United States. “With COVID-19 the realm of treatments is the next horizon for us,” Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s public health officer, told county supervisors last month during one of his periodic updates. “COVID-19 is an increasingly treatable disease with pharmaceutical interventions.”
  • Moderna partners with nonprofit to use mRNA to address global health challengesFierce Biotech – April 7, 2022Moderna is turning its mRNA tech to even more global health challenges through a partnership with nonprofit research organization IAVI. The collaboration will focus on developing vaccines and antibodies for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, antimicrobial-resistant enteric infections and, of course, COVID-19. IAVI, which focuses on drug discovery for urgent public health threats, will work with the famed biotech and its mRNA platform to advance candidates to help low-income countries where these diseases are common. Moderna’s mRNA platform can help develop material for clinical testing more quickly than traditional recombinant protein synthesis or cell systems can.
  • COVID-19 vaccine plus infection can lead to months of immunityNature – April 6, 2022Even people who have had COVID-19 receive long-lasting benefits from a full course of vaccination, according to three recent studies. What’s more, one of the studies found that the ‘hybrid’ immunity caused by vaccination and infection is long-lasting, conferring highly effective protection against symptomatic disease for at least six to eight months after vaccination. The data were collected before the Omicron variant emerged, casting some doubt on the studies’ relevance today. But if the findings hold up, they could inform vaccination schemes and vaccine passports, which some countries require for entry to places such as restaurants. The work also counters high-profile claims that people who have had COVID-19 don’t benefit from vaccination.
  • FDA vaccine advisers say a plan for updating COVID-19 shots is neededCNN – April 6, 2022The future of COVID-19 vaccines — including when and how often booster doses might be needed — remains unclear and “complex,” according to advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) detailed in a meeting how emerging COVID-19 variants and the future use of COVID-19 booster shots would be approached and coordinated — and the advisers plan to continue their conversation in the coming months.
  • San Diego will be part of national clinical trial on COVID-19 vaccinesSan Diego Union Tribune – April 6, 2022Fully vaccinated and boosted San Diego County residents are among those nationwide who will be able to participate in a new clinical trial that seeks to test combinations of vaccines that target variants, including Beta, Delta and Omicron. UC San Diego is among 24 sites nationwide selected to enroll otherwise healthy residents in the COVID-19 Variant Immunologic Landscape Trial, a major nationwide effort funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
  • Biden announces long COVID-19 strategy as experts push for moreWashington Post – April 5, 2022President Biden directed government agencies to take additional steps to research and treat long COVID-19, a condition that remains often mysterious even as it has sickened millions of Americans. Under a memorandum issued by Biden, the Department of Health and Human Services will coordinate a government-wide action plan to address long COVID-19, which is estimated to afflict anywhere from 7.7 million to 23 million Americans, according to a recent federal watchdog report.
  •  New medication provides protection against COVID-19 for immunocompromisedKMOV – April 5, 2022It’s estimated hundreds of thousands of people in Missouri and Illinois have some level of compromised immune system and are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. But recently, the FDA gave emergency use authorization for a treatment to provide protection for that population, called Evusheld. Evusheld is a long acting monoclonal antibody that’s not given as a treatment for COVID-19 but as a preventative measure. Dr. Alfred Kim is a Washington University physician at Barnes Jewish Hospital, who specializes in rheumatology. “So in essence, they a replace the antibodies that should have been made by these individuals who are in suppressed, but they weren’t able to because of the suppression. This allows them though, to be able to behave as if they were vaccinated and generate a good response,” he said.
  • CDC director clears up confusion on 2nd COVID-19 boostersNBC News – April 5, 2022The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided more clarity on who should — or perhaps should not — consider getting a second COVID-19 booster vaccine, saying that a recent infection may in fact act as a “natural boost” in immunity. People who have had the two-dose mRNA vaccine series plus one booster don’t need a second booster if they recently were infected with the omicron variant of COVID-19, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told NBC News. “If you’ve had omicron disease in the last two or three months, that really did boost your immune system quite well,” Walensky said, adding that these individuals could wait another two to four months before their second booster.
  • New Studies Support Benefit of Merck’s MolnupiravirBiospace – April 4, 2022Three studies supporting Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ Lagevrio (molnupiravir) will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Lisbon. The conference runs from April 23-26. Molnupiravir is an oral antiviral authorized in the U.S. and other countries for early treatment of COVID-19. One study demonstrated that the drug is effective at reducing the risk of progression of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized, unvaccinated patients at high risk of poor outcomes.
  • Another booster? A vaccine for Omicron? Here’s what could be next for COVID-19 vaccinesNPR – April 4, 2022Most vaccinated people will probably require yet another COVID-19 vaccine booster shot in the fall, a top Food and Drug Administration official said. “That’s when we’ll probably have a fair amount of waning immunity in combination with likely further evolution of the virus, along with people going back inside,” where COVID-19 spreads more easily, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told NPR in an interview. Marks says the U.S. must start planning now for whether everyone needs another shot and, if so, what kind of shot exactly.

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 informational briefings contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].