COVID-19 Update | January 20, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | January 20, 2023

January 20, 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 January 20, 2022. Notable advancements include:

  • COVID-19 vaccines and initial booster doses provided significant protection to pregnant women against severe complications and death, even after the arrival of the new Omicron variant.
  • Researchers are testing whether long-term, COVID-19-related smell loss could be treated by using injections of platelet-rich plasma derived from a patient’s own blood.
  • Life science companies are exploring new treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 as new highly transmissible variants of the virus continue to spread.

Recent News 

  • Long-term, COVID-19-related smell loss could be treated using injections of platelet-rich plasma
    News Medical Life Sciences – January 19, 2023
    A professor of otolaryngology at Stanford Medicine, Zara Patel has, for years, studied loss of smell as a symptom of viral infections. According to a 2022 survey by Patel and colleagues, about 15% of people who experienced smell loss from COVID-19 continued to have problems six months later. That’s roughly 9 million people in the U.S., and the number is growing. Many who report loss of smell also report loss of taste because smell is such a major component of how we experience food. Now Patel’s team has tested a new treatment for long-term, COVID-19-related smell loss using injections of platelet-rich plasma derived from a patient’s own blood. In a trial of 26 participants, those who received the treatment were 12.5 times more likely to improve than patients who received placebo injections.
  • Hybrid immunity protects better than infection alone, large study finds
    The San Francisco Chronicle – January 18, 2023
    Hybrid immunity — the response when a person has been both infected and vaccinated — offers a substantially higher and sustained level of protection against hospitalization or severe disease due to the omicron COVID-19 variant compared to a previous COVID-19 infection alone, according to a new study published in The Lancet. World Health Organization researchers analyzed data from 26 other studies on the subject and found that individuals with hybrid immunity had a 95% lower chance of the worst outcomes of the disease up to one year after their initial infection, while those who were previously infected but unvaccinated had a 75% lower risk over the same period.
  • Study Results Show IVIG May be Effective Therapy for Severe COVID-19
    Pharmacy Times – January 18, 2023
    Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) may be an effective therapy for individuals with severe COVID-19, according to the results of a study published in Virology Journal. Healthy individuals also have pre-existing anti-SARS-COVID-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG), according to investigators. Investigators administered IVIG to 23 individuals with severe COVID-19. They aimed to determine if the cross-reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 and other common coronaviruses could explain the clinical benefits of IVIG therapy.
  • COVID-19 Isn’t Going Away. New Drugs Are Coming.
    Barrons – January 18, 2023
    A COVID-19 vaccine that comes as a pill. A better version of Pfizer‘s Paxlovid. A monoclonal antibody that can survive the virus’s mutations. Drug company pipelines remain occupied with COVID-19, even as masks fall away and the pandemic fades into the background. At the annual healthcare investor conference hosted by J.P. Morgan, large and small drug developers talked up a range of new treatments and vaccines. While Pfizer Paxlovid antiviral, and Pfizer and Moderna‘s (MRNA) dueling vaccines, dominate the COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic landscape today, othercompanies are still seeking pieces of what they expect to be an enduring market.
  • Vaccines protected pregnant women during Omicron surge
    UW Medicine Newsroom – January 18, 2023
    COVID-19 vaccines and first boosters provided significant protection to pregnant women against severe complications and death, even after the arrival of the new Omicron variant, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal. The main point of the study, which was completed before other variants came on the scene, is for pregnant women to get vaccinated and receive all their boosters, including the bivalent booster. The bivalent booster contains components targeting the original strain of the virus as well as a component of the Omicron strain, which emerged in late 2021.
  • Paxlovid May Reduce Already Low Risk of COVID-19 Hospitalization, Death Among Vaccinated Patients
    The American Journal of Managed Care – January 17, 2023
    The use of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir further (Paxlovid) reduces the already low risk of hospitalization among older vaccinated patients who contract COVID-19, found researchers of a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.The observational retrospective study adds insight into the use of nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir among patients who are vaccinated against COVID-19. Although recommended for patients regardless of vaccination status when it received emergency use authorization at the end of 2021, the treatment was only studied in unvaccinated patients in the Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in High-Risk Patients trial.
  • CDC, FDA: Risk for Stroke in Seniors Following Updated COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Very Unlikely’
    Infectious Disease Special Addition – January 17, 2023
    Despite a safety signal about increased risk for stroke in older adults who are vaccinated with the updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC and FDA issued a joint statement that a preliminary investigation found no reason to be alarmed. At this time, the two agencies maintain there is no reason to alter the current COVID-19 vaccination schedule. Reports on the CDC’s near real-time surveillance system, Vaccine Safety Datalink, met the statistical threshold to signal the need for additional investigation into whether there was an increased risk for ischemic stroke in adults aged 65 years and older in the 21 days following receipt of the updated bivalent Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, compared with days 22 through 42 post-vaccination. The safety signal was not reported in the Moderna bivalent vaccine.
  • Long COVID-19 brain fog: doctors share how they’re treating this persistent and puzzling symptom that may impact up to 70% of survivors
    Yahoo Finance – January 16, 2023
    Doctors are still trying to understand brain fog, which some studies estimate may affect up to 70% of COVID-19 patients, and experimenting with treatments that may improve symptoms for those dealing with it months out from their illness. Studies show those who have had COVID-19 demonstrate measurable increases in brain fog compared to their counterparts—even if they didn’t notice it—but also that those symptoms cleared up around six to nine months later. Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have taken a different approach with their Post-COVID-19 Recovery Clinic, launched in November of 2020. They say the cause of brain fog in COVID-19 patients has not been determined with conclusive evidence. Doctors have instead focused on treating the symptoms in more than 500 patients with long-haul COVID-19.

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].