COVID-19 Update | February 3, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | February 3, 2023

February 3, 2023

COVID-19 Update | February 3, 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 February 3, 2023. Notable advancements include:

  • A trio of new studies concludes that the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster offers added protection against infection from Omicron and its major subvariants.
  • A recent study suggests that repeated boosters at frequent intervals could improve COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and control the long-term pandemic trajectory.
  • COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots help keep children ages 5 to 11 suffering from respiratory illness out of emergency departments and urgent care centers.


Recent News

  • Who Should Get a COVID-19 Booster Now? New Data Offers Some Clarity.
    The New York Times – February 2, 2023
    For people who are high-risk — namely adults age 50 and older and people who are immunocompromised or have an underlying condition — the evidence is straightforward: If you haven’t gotten the bivalent booster, you should. Just make sure it’s been at least three months since your last vaccine or COVID-19 infection. Supporting this recommendation is data presented by Pfizer and Moderna at the F.D.A. meeting, along with four studies published in January in The New England Journal of Medicine. That research found that people who received the bivalent booster had an increase in antibody levels. This suggests it improved immune defenses against the virus, but it didn’t protect against the new strains as well as it did against the old ones.
  • Ada Health and Pfizer collaborate to launch a nationwide online COVID-19 Care Journey, operated by Ada, to help connect patients with timely treatment
    PR Newswire – February 2, 2023
    Ada Health Inc. (‘Ada’), a global digital health company focused on improving human health at scale, announces the launch of its first digital condition-based care journey, designed to help people understand if they meet current criteria for progression to severe COVID-19 and connect with a health care provider for evaluation of their COVID-19 symptoms and treatment options.
  • Opinion – The Checkup With Dr. Wen: Three important studies shed light on long COVID-19
    The Washington Post – February 2, 2023
    A recent paper published in Nature Medicine attempts to divide the spectrum of symptoms into four groups: cardiac and renal abnormalities; sleep and anxiety problems; musculoskeletal and nervous system concerns; and digestive and respiratory system consequences. Based on medical record reviews of long COVID-19 patients, researchers found patterns in these groups. For example, those with heart, kidney and other circulatory problems were more likely to be male, to have had severe COVID-19 requiring hospitalization and to have been infected during the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020. On the other hand, those with muscular pain and headaches were more likely to be female and had a higher rate of preexisting autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Repeated COVID-19 vaccination may improve public health outcomes
    News Medical Life Sciences – February 1, 2023
    Assuming that 50% of the population received regular boosters, the study model projected infection frequency and mortality risk among vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. According to the model estimates, individuals vaccinated with one booster dose were expected to experience an average of 1.5 infections each year, whereas unvaccinated individuals were predicted to experience more than two infections each year. The risk of death was predicted to be two times higher among unvaccinated individuals as compared to boosted individuals. The current study suggests that repeated boosters at frequent intervals could improve COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and control the pandemic trajectory.
  • FDA axes requirement for positive COVID-19 test before Paxlovid use
    EndPoints News – February 1, 2023
    FDA announced that doctors and pharmacists can now prescribe Paxlovid to patients without a positive test for COVID-19.CDER Director Patrizia Cavazzoni reissued Paxlovid’s authorization letter, saying it has revised the authorization to “no longer require positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing.” The EUA now requires instead that adults and kids 12 years of age and older have a “current diagnosis of mild-to-moderate COVID-19.” Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, told Endpoints News that “Paxlovid is right now the only good option for outpatient treatment of COVID-19, and the last thing we want to do is give it to people who don’t have COVID-19 just for convenience.”
  • Number of people with long COVID-19 appears to be declining, according to CDC data
    Fierce Healthcare – January 31, 2023
    The percentage of individuals who’ve had COVID-19 and then wind up with long COVID shrank from 19% in June 2022 to 11% this month, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “That decrease reflects a reduction in the share of people who have COVID-19 and later report long COVID-19, which declined from 35% to 28% during the same period,” researchers at KFF wrote. Some health insurance plans and employers who self-insure might breathe a sigh of relief about this development. Even though generally agreed-upon best practices for diagnosing and treating long COVID-19 have yet to be adopted, the condition looms large for payers as a possible future cost burden.
  • COVID-19 vaccines, boosters keep kids out of the ER: study
    Fierce Healthcare – January 31, 2023
    COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots go a long way toward keeping children ages 5 to 11 suffering from respiratory illness out of emergency departments and urgent care centers, according to a new study. Researchers with Kaiser Permanente Southern California measured the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was approved for use in this age group in October 2021 by the Food and Drug Administration. The study was funded by Pfizer.
  • COVID-19 bivalent booster appears to offer added benefits against Omicron
    University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – January 27, 2023
    A trio of new studies concludes that the COVID-19 bivalent (two-strain) vaccine booster offers added protection against infection with the Omicron and its major subvariants and against severe illness. In the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), University of North Carolina (UNC) researchers parsed data from the state’s COVID-19 surveillance and vaccine-management systems from Sep 1 to Dec 8, 2022, a period in which the bivalent Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccine boosters were administered.
  • COVID-19 in California: CDC explains criteria for counting COVID-19 deaths
    The San Francisco Chronicle – January 28, 2023
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterated in its weekly epidemiological update that its data reports “include only the deaths in which COVID-19 played a meaningful role.” “Accurate, transparent, and accessible data are critical to understanding any illness, outbreak, or public health threat. CDC’s goal is to provide actionable information to public health professionals and the American public,” the agency said. “However, CDC recognizes that misunderstandings about COVID-19 death data have led to claims that COVID-19 deaths in the United States are being overcounted.” The agency said there are two types of causes listed on death certificates: “underlying,” in which COVID-19 was the main reason the person died; and “contributing,” in which another condition is listed as the underlying cause of death but where COVID-19 contributed.

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].