COVID-19 Update | January 27, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | January 27, 2023

January 27, 2023

COVID-19 Update | January 27, 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 27, 2022. Notable advancements include:

  • Vaccines for COVID-19 proved to be effective in lowering the rate of infection and severe illness in children aged 5 to 11 according to a new study in JAMA Pediatrics.
  • New data shows the updated, bivalent COVID-19 boosters are cutting the risk of infection from COVID-19 by about half in the general population.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a simplified approach for future vaccination efforts, allowing most adults and children to get a once-a-year shot to protect against the mutating COVID-19 virus.

Recent News 

  • The mRNA COVID-19 Boosters Protect Against XBB and XBB15
    Contagion Live – January 26, 2023
    The CDC is reporting the bivalent mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna) boosters provided protection against symptomatic COVID-19 infection of the XBB and XBB15 variants for at least 3 months in individuals who received 2-4 monovalent vaccine doses. In addition to the aforementioned findings, the investigators said the booster protection may show signs of lasting longer than 3 months. “Evidence of waning VE by 2–3 months after receiving a bivalent dose based on point estimates was minimal, although estimates were imprecise. Sensitivity analyses did not show a meaningful change in VE by different analytic period start dates,” the authors wrote.
  • Updated boosters are cutting the risk of getting sick from COVID-19 by about half
    CNN – January 25, 2023
    The updated COVID-19 boosters are cutting the risk that a person will get sick from COVID-19 by about half, even against infections caused by the rapidly spreading XBB.1.5 subvariant. New studies, conducted by researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are among the first looks at how the bivalent boosters have continued to work in the real world as the virus has evolved. The data shows that the boosters are continuing to offer substantial protection against currently circulating variants.
  • What’s next for COVID-19 vaccines? Scientists and regulators chart a course amid uncertainty
    Science – January 25, 2023
    Regulators and scientists are debating the near-term future. How often will we need booster doses and who should receive them? Should vaccines continue to be updated as new Omicron subvariants—or entirely new variants—emerge? Are people who have had COVID-19 along with multiple vaccine doses better protected, and for how long? An advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will consider some of these questions and provide guidance for the agency’s vaccine strategy this year. One focus of discussion will be whether to transition to a simpler strategy also used for influenza: a once-yearly shot of an updated vaccine offered in the fall. In advance of the meeting, Science spoke to scientists about where we stand and how to move forward.
  • Projections for COVID-19 in 2023
    Kaiser Permanente – January 25, 2023
    Vincent Liu, MD, pulmonary critical care physician and researcher for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, said, “We will likely continue to experience waves of COVID-19 in the next 4 months to a year and a half.” There are many reasons for this, Dr. Liu said, including loosened restrictions on social distancing and masking, and more in-person gatherings than in the past years. Future COVID-19 waves will likely be less severe and have fewer patients requiring hospitalization, according to Dr. Liu. However, the same groups of people remain at higher risk for both infection and severe illness, including those ages 65 and older, immunocompromised people, infants, and people with preexisting conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Although Dr. Liu does not foresee future mandates for the COVID-19 vaccination, he does expect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend annual vaccinations.
  • COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Transfusion Shows Decreased Mortality for Immunocompromised Patients With COVID-19
    Pharmacy Times – January 25, 2023
    A transfusion of plasma from a recently recovered individual who had COVID-19 was found to be associated with decreased mortality in immunocompromised patients with COVID-19, according to authors who published a study in JAMA Network Open. When administered within 72 hours of symptom onset, this antibody-based therapy has also been associated with decreased hospitalizations and disease progression for patients with severe COVID-19. Early admission and sufficient dosage are imperative for the efficacy of antibody-based therapies. Fortunately, patients who treated in a later stage of disease progression showed mortality benefits.
  • Researchers identify a key host-cell player in COVID-19 infections
    News Medical Life Sciences – January 24, 2023
    Researchers at University of California San Diego and UC Riverside have further elucidated the molecular pathway used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to infect human lung cells, identifying a key host-cell player that may prove a new and enduring therapeutic target for treating COVID-19. To enter and infect host cells, the SARS-CoV-2 virus deploys its characteristic spike proteins to bind to a cell surface receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme, triggering expression of another enzyme called transmembrane serine protease 2 which results in the generation of new virus particles that help further the disease COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 Vaccines in Children Aged 5 to 11 Effective, Safe, Study Finds
    American Journal of Managed Care – January 23, 2023
    Vaccines for COVID-19 proved to be effective in preventing infection and severe illness in children aged 5 to 11, according to a new review published in JAMA Pediatrics. Severe adverse events (AE) from the vaccine, which reduced hospitalizations and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children , were rare; the AEs that did occur resolved within a few days. Children were thought to be less likely to experience severe symptoms of COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic; this was later found to be untrue. This review and meta-analysis aimed to pool current evidence of the efficacy and safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in this age group.
  • OHSU researchers find immune response to COVID-19 strengthens over time
    OHSU – January 25, 2023
    Immunity from COVID-19 appears to gather strength with more time between vaccination and infection, a new laboratory study from researchers at Oregon Health & Science University suggests. The findings carry implications for vaccine recommendations as the pandemic transitions to an endemic state. Researchers measured the antibody response in blood samples for a group of people who gained so-called “hybrid immunity” through two means: either vaccination followed by a breakthrough infection, or by getting vaccinated after contracting COVID-19. They measured the immune response in blood samples of 96 generally healthy OHSU employees and found that the immune response was uniformly stronger the longer the time period between vaccination and infection. Their findings suggest that vaccine boosters should be spaced no more frequently than a year apart, at least among healthy people.
  • FDA proposes once-a-year COVID-19 vaccine shots for most Americans
    CBS News – January 23, 2023
    S. health officials want to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the annual flu shot. The Food and Drug Administration proposed a simplified approach for future vaccination efforts, allowing most adults and children to get a once-a-year shot to protect against the mutating virus. This means Americans would no longer have to keep track of how many shots they’ve received or how many months it’s been since their last booster. The proposal comes as boosters have become a hard sell. While more than 80% of the U.S. population has had at least one vaccine dose, only 16% of those eligible have received the latest boosters authorized in August.
  • What we know about how COVID-19 vaccines may affect menstrual cycles
    The Hill – January 20, 2023
    Several recent studies have found that the length of people’s menstrual cycles can increase by up to a day immediately after they get vaccinated. A study of almost 4,000 women in the U.S. found that menstrual cycle lengths were extended by about 0.7 day after a first dose and 0.9 day after a second dose. Though the cycles were longer overall, however, researchers did not find a change in how many days women’s periods lasted. An even larger study of nearly 20,000 women in the U.K. found a similar effect on overall cycle length, but also noted that it was extended for longer in people who got both doses of a vaccine within the same menstrual cycle. For these individuals, their cycle length increased by an average of 3.7 days.

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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].