COVID-19 Update | December 2, 2022
December 2, 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 December 2, 2022. Notable advancements include:
- Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment, Paxlovid is shown to be safe for pregnant woman to take to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 or fetal complications.
- Scientists are trying several approaches aiming to create one universal vaccine in hopes to stay ahead of not only influenza and COVID-19, but also respiratory syncytial virus.
- Millions suffer from long COVID-19 — and it costs them $9,000 a year in health-care expenses, on averageCNBC – December 1, 2022 Long COVID-19 has affected as many as 23 million Americans to date — and it’s poised to have a financial impact rivaling or exceeding that of the Great Recession. By one estimate, the chronic illness will cost the U.S. economy $3.7 trillion, with extra medical costs accounting for $528 billion. Costs on a household and national scale are tough to quantify because the illness — also known as long-haul COVID-19, post-COVID-19 or post-acute COVID-19 syndrome — is so new. Anyone with a prior COVID-19 infection is susceptible, regardless of factors such as age, health or vaccine status.
- Concern grows over winter COVID-19 spike in Los Angeles CountyLos Angeles Daily News – December 1, 2022 Hospitals are seeing significantly larger numbers of patients with COVID-19, as Los Angeles County reports 4,353 new cases on November 30, a surge in daily infections from earlier in the week, when 2,370 new cases were found. Health officials have been warning about a possible surge of COVID-19 during the winter months and have repeatedly urged residents to ensure they are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, and to get a flu shot.
- Paxlovid safe for pregnant COVID-19 patients, fetuses, study findsCenter for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota – November 30, 2022 Pregnant women can safely take the antiviral drug Paxlovid to reduce the risk of serious COVID-19 pregnancy or fetal complications, according to a small study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. Co-senior author Kelly Gebo, MD, MPH, said that although the results need confirmation, “We feel that even at this time, the medication should be strongly considered for pregnant patients who are unvaccinated or at risk for progression to severe COVID disease or not likely to have drug-drug interactions.”
- Researchers Take Aim at One Vaccine Targeting COVID-19, Flu, Even RSVMedscape – November 30, 2022 With multiple viruses circulating around the United States and multiple vaccines to try to prevent some of them, there is increasing effort to streamline and improve the process and ultimately make one vaccine to attack most — if not all — of the viruses at the same time. Scientists are trying several approaches to stay ahead of not only influenza and COVID-19, but also respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), ideally in one convenient combination vaccine. Whether one vaccine or more, though, the technology and science behind how vaccines are made need to continue expanding. While we already have vaccines for the flu and COVID-19, an effective and safe RSV vaccine has proven more difficult to bring to market, but several companies have experimental products that have reached advanced stages of development.
- COVID-19 evolution wipes out another antibody treatment, threatening the country’s medicine cabinetStat News – November 30, 2022 The Food and Drug Administration ended its emergency authorization for the only remaining COVID-19 antibody therapy cleared for use, saying variants that render it ineffective are now dominant in the United States. The news about bebtelovimab makes official what has been anticipated for several weeks, as the Omicron sublineages BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 have been growing in prevalence. Still, it comes as a blow to both providers and patients who are at risk for more severe outcomes. The rapid evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus had already knocked out several other monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19.
- Moderna exec says COVID-19 trials improved diversity recruitingReuters – November 30, 2022 Moderna Inc’s top scientist said that the vaccine maker has learned how to better recruit from diverse populations for its clinical trials from running its COVID-19 vaccine studies. Moderna Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton, speaking at the Reuters NEXT conference in New York, said that in 2020 the company needed to slow enrollment in its initial COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in order to include more people in communities of color.
- Similar long-COVID-19 symptoms noted after Omicron, DeltaCenter for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, The University of Minnesota – November 30, 2022 A pair of new studies in Nature Communications discuss long COVID-19, with a Norwegian study finding similar rates after infection with the Delta and Omicron variants in adults, and a Swiss study identifying low socioeconomic status and chronic conditions such as asthma as risk factors for persistent symptoms among teens. Both Delta- and Omicron-infected participants particularly experienced a 20% to 30% higher rate of post-COVID-19 fatigue and a 30% higher rate of shortness of breath, compared with those who tested negative.
- Physicians urged to remain vigilant in recommending COVID-19 and flu vaccines for kidsCalifornia Medical Association – November 29, 2022 The California Medical Association recently partnered with the American Academy Pediatrics, the California Academy of Family Physicians and the California Immunization Coalition in urging all providers of pediatric services to remain vigilant in making a strong recommendation for COVID-19 and influenza vaccination to protect children and those around them – especially now as families gather for the holidays. Recent authorizations of bivalent COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 years and up will help protect young patients from the ever-evolving SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
- New COVID-19 Variant XBB Gaining Ground Among AmericansHealth Day – November 28, 2022 U.S. health officials are tracking a new COVID-19 variant that is a combination of two earlier omicron subvariants. Known as XBB, this latest subvariant now represents 3.1 percent of new COVID-19 cases throughout the United States and 5 percent of cases in the Northeast. Based on preliminary estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of XBB may be doubling every 12 days. However, the variant should not pose the same threat that the emergence of omicron posed a year ago
- Latest COVID-19 vaccine will help people ‘move on’ from the pandemic, White House’s Jha saysABC News – November 27, 2022 With the Biden administration urging people to get both a COVID-19 booster and a flu shot as soon as possible, the White House’s Dr. Ashish Jha said that updated vaccinations will help people “move on” from the pandemic. “It’s been, obviously, a long two and a half years for Americans, and we understand that people want to move on,” Jha, the White House COVID-19 coordinator. “The good news is people can move on if they keep their immunity up to date.”
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