COVID-19 Update | January 6, 2023
January 6, 2023
On behalf of the California Biotechnology Foundation (CBF), we’d like to wish members of the California State Legislature a Happy New Year and extend newly elected legislators a very warm welcome.
As part of its mission, the California Biotechnology Foundation is committed to keeping policymakers up to date about the latest news and developments related to the life science industry. Since the beginning of the pandemic, CBF has been providing information about COVID-19 testing, treatment and prevention advancements for members to share with their constituents and to use as they consider policy decisions.
The following resources track what progress has been made as of January 6, 2023. Notable advancements include:
- Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered that the oral diabetes medication metformin may cut the risk of developing the persistent symptoms of long COVID-19.
- An observational National Institutes of Health study suggests that COVID-19 vaccinations are safe for kids 5 years and older who developed the rare but serious post-infection multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.
- A study based on a large national sample suggests that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time is associated with reductions in COVID-19 infections.
- Promising finding on early treatment against long COVID-19The San Francisco Chronicle – January 5, 2023 Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered that the oral diabetes medication metformin may cut the risk of developing the persistent symptoms of long COVID-19 by 42% when taken for two weeks within 3 days of a confirmed coronavirus infection. In the randomized, multi-site trial composed of 1,125 adults between the ages 30 to 85 who were classified as being overweight, the researchers compared the effectiveness of three oral medications — metformin, antidepressant fluvoxamine, and antiparasitic drug ivermectin, which has previously been discounted as a viable treatment option for COVID-19.
- Stanford Medicine scientists pinpoint COVID-19 virus’s entry and exit ports inside our nosesStanford Medicine – January 5, 2023 In a study publishing today in the print issue of Cell, Peter Jackson, PhD, a Stanford Medicine professor of pathology and of microbiology and immunology, and his colleagues brought the possibility of a nasal spray closer to reality by pinpointing the routes that SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, takes to enter and exit cells in our nasal cavity. “Our upper airways are the launchpad not only for infection of our lungs but for transmission to others,” Jackson said.
- COVID-19 vaccines appear safe in kids who had post-infection syndromeCenter for Infectious Disease Research and Policy University of Minnesota – January 4, 2023 An observational National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study suggests that COVID-19 vaccination is safe for kids 5 years and older who developed the rare but serious post-infection multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). More than 9,000 US children have been diagnosed as having MIS-C, and 74 have died, but the disease appears to be on the decline, the authors said. “A big part of that decline is that COVID-19 vaccination has been protective against this rare condition in those who have received it,” co-lead investigator Audrey Dionne, MD, of Harvard Medical School, said in the release.
- What to Know About the New XBB.1.5 VariantTime – January 3, 2023 A new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading in the U.S., raising concerns about a potential wave of infections and reinfections to start the new year. The variant, called XBB.1.5, is a descendent of Omicron and a close relative of the XBB variant, which spread widely in Singapore and India this past fall. A December study in the journal Cell demonstrated that XBB is better at evading immune defenses gained from vaccination and prior infection, compared to other variants. This raises the risk of reinfection, a World Health Organization group warned in October—though the group said at the time that XBB does not appear to cause significantly more severe disease than previous strains.
- Long COVID-19 Clinical Trials May Offer Shortcut to New TreatmentsWeb MD – January 3, 2023 With no proven treatments for long COVID-19, millions of Americans struggling with debilitating symptoms may be wondering whether it’s worth it to try something they’ve never considered before: a clinical trial. Dozens of clinical trials nationwide are already underway or starting soon, many of which are aided by $1.5 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health to help identify new treatments for common symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and a hard time breathing. But it may take years for these trials to prove which drugs, devices, and behavioral therapies are safe and effective.
- Pandemic drug, shot and test makers Pfizer and Roche pen COVID-19 awareness collabFierce Pharma – December 27, 2022 Roche and Pfizer have launched a collaboration in the U.S. to help those who test positive for COVID-19 find the best resources for the best possible outcomes. Starting just in time for a potential winter surge in cases, Roche’s Pilot COVID-19 At-Home Test has added a QR code that connects the user to Pfizer’s COVID-19 website to get more information about COVID-19, including guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on further testing and treatment options.
- Study finds COVID-19-cutting benefit for dual vaccinationCenter for Infectious Disease Research and Policy University of Minnesota – December 27, 2022 A study based on a large national sample suggests that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time is associated with reductions in COVID-19 infections, similar to a COVID-19-only vaccination strategy. The authors said earlier evidence suggests that it is safe to receive both vaccines at the same time, though levels of adverse reactions such as fatigue, myalgia, and headaches may be higher. However, they noted that benefits of dual vaccination were less clear and that population-based evidence would be helpful for better communicating about the potential benefits of dual vaccination.
Rely on California Biotechnology Foundation to monitor breaking news and provide updates on the latest advancements in COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines and treatments.
Stay informed on the latest news and trends on the economic and health benefits of this industry by visiting the new CABiotech.org
If you have any questions about informational briefings contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].