COVID-19 Update | August 25, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | August 25, 2023

August 25, 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 August 25, 2023. Notable advancements include:

  • Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered that long-haul COVID-19 patients who were vaccinated before contracting the virus were less likely to experience symptoms.
  • The first COVID-19 nasal spray vaccine is being developed by Dartmouth Health, the NIH and Exothera with clinical trials planned in the United States.
  • A study published in the journal eBioMedicine, shows that immune response may be stronger if your booster vaccination is injected in the same arm as the last COVID-19 shot received.

Recent News

  • FDA Approves Veklury® (Remdesivir) to Treat COVID-19 in People With Mild to Severe Hepatic Impairment With no Dose Adjustment
    Gilead – August 24, 2023
    The clinical benefit of Veklury in hospitalized populations with COVID-19 is supported by randomized controlled trials, real-world evidence, and meta-analyses, but the pharmacokinetics of Veklury had not previously been evaluated in patients with hepatic impairment. This latest approval is based on results from a Phase 1 study of safety and pharmacokinetics in people with hepatic impairment. No new safety signals were observed. Based upon these results, the label has been updated to reflect that no dose adjustment is required across all stages of liver disease.
  • Vaccines can help reduce the severity of long-haul COVID-19
    News Medical & Life Sciences – August 23, 2023
    Getting a COVID-19 vaccine may not only reduce a person’s risk of getting long-haul COVID-19, but also could mean fewer symptoms for people who develop the condition. Mayo Clinic researchers discovered that long-haul COVID-19 patients who were vaccinated before contracting the virus were less likely to experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath, according to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine. The study is believed to be among the first to examine COVID-19 vaccines’ potential to reduce long-haul COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Variant in Immune Gene Linked to Lack of Symptoms During COVID-19
    National Institutes of Health – August 21, 2023
    Studies have shown that around 20% of people who have had COVID-19 do not experience any symptoms. This is known as being asymptomatic. In a study supported by several NIH Institutes, researchers found that changes in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) gene, a gene that is associated with people’s immune response to viral infections, were associated with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. Researchers enrolled more than 29,000 people who had volunteered to donate bone marrow that had already been sequenced for HLA variants.
  • Which arm gets the COVID-19 booster may make a difference, study shows
    CNN Health – August 18, 2023
    When you go to get your newly updated COVID-19 booster this fall, you might to choose the arm the vaccine goes in carefully. The immune response may be stronger if your booster goes in the same arm as your last COVID-19 shot, according to a study published in the journal eBioMedicine. “The question seems so banal, so trivial that nobody before has thought to ask it,” study coauthor Martina Sester, a biologist and head of the department of the Institute of Infection Medicine at Saarland University Hospital in Germany, said in a news release.
  • What to Know About EG.5 (Eris)—the Latest Coronavirus Strain
    Yale Medicine – August 18, 2023
    Viruses mutate, so it was only a matter of time before, yet another new COVID-19strain emerged and started to spread. This summer, that strain is called EG.5, or, informally, Eris (nicknamed after the Greek goddess of strife and discord). A descendant of Omicron, Eris is already the dominant coronavirus subvariant in the country, infecting more people than any other single strain. So far, EG.5 isn’t setting off any alarms as far as disease severity, although early reports show it may be more transmissible.
  • Proxalutamide shows promise as potential COVID-19 treatment
    News Medical & Life Sciences – August 18, 2023
    Proxalutamide, when combined with FDA-approved COVID-19 drug remdesivir, blocked infection by 100%. “This discovery underscores the utility of testing existing drugs for new applications that can be rapidly evaluated in humans to shorten the timeline from discovery to clinical evaluation,” said Sexton, who is also director of the U-M Center for Drug Repurposing. Buoyed by their in vitro results, the team looked to see whether the compound could stop the so-called cytokine storm, or severe inflammatory response, caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • Study suggests antibodies triggered by COVID-19 mRNA vaccination may depend on prior infection history
    News Medical & Life Sciences – August 17, 2023
    Different COVID-19 vaccines are available, ranging from inactivated to non-replicating viral vector and mRNA vaccines. Previous studies have established that SARS-CoV-2 naïve individuals and previously infected individuals show distinct immune responses to vaccination. IgG is the most abundant immunoglobulin isotype in human serum. Each subclass of IgG has a unique profile related to antigen binding, immune complex formation, complement activation, and triggering of effector cell activation. After antigenic stimuli, especially viral protein antigens, two complement-activating IgG subclasses, IgG3 and IgG1, are secreted first, whereas IgG2 and IgG4, which attenuate inflammation without complement activation, are secreted later.
  • First COVID-19 nasal spray vaccine being developed by Dartmouth Health, the NIH and Exothera
    Healthcare Finance – August 17, 2023
    The National Institutes of Health, Belgium-based viral vector manufacturer Exothera and researchers at Dartmouth Health’s Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine are working to develop and bring to market the first nasal COVID-19 vaccine. Clinical trials are planned for the United States and Africa. The nasal-spray vaccine will not require refrigeration and does not need to be administered by a medical professional, making it a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 in developing parts of the world, according to Dartmouth Health, the health system for its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
  • COVID-19 levels are rising but still relatively low in the US, surveillance data shows
    CNN Health – August 16, 2023
    Federal surveillance data suggests that COVID-19 levels are trending up in the United States, but key metrics remain well below most other points in the pandemic. COVID-19 hospitalizations have been on the rise since early July, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the first week of August, more than 10,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s a 60% increase over the course of a month, including a 14% bump in the most recent week. Rates are now at levels last seen in April. But weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations are still about a quarter of what they were at this time last year and lower than they were for about 90% of the pandemic.

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].