COVID-19 Update | January 7, 2022

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | January 7, 2022

January 7, 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 January 7, 2022. Notable advancements include:

  • U.S. health regulators have approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill, the first treatment newly infected patients can take at home.
  • Gilead Sciences’s treatment remdesivir significantly reduced hospitalizations of people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 at high-risk of severe illness.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized COVID-19 booster shots for adolescents ages 12-15.
  • A Johnson & Johnson booster shot provided strong protection against the Omicron variant according to a new clinical trial.

Recent News

  • Death From COVID-19 Very Rare in Fully Vaccinated Adults: Study
    Medscape – January 6, 2022 
    New research shows that adults who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 rarely die from the disease, although the odds of severe outcomes and death are higher in older adults and in those with compromised immune systems and underlying conditions. Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is highly effective at preventing COVID-19–associated hospitalization and death.
  • The C.D.C. endorses Pfizer-BioNTech boosters for children ages 12 and older.
    New York Times – January 5, 2022
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 17, citing rising infections in teens and young adults and a troubling increase in pediatric hospitalizations. As the contagious Omicron variant spreads through the country, public health officials have seized on extra vaccine doses as a first line of defense. Pfizer-BioNTech boosters are now authorized for any American older than 12 who is five months past his or her second dose of the vaccine.
  • CDC backs FDA’s decision to reduce time between primary series and booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine
    CNN – January 4, 2022
    The US Food and Drug Administration shortened the time needed before receiving a booster shot from at least six months after completion of the initial series to at least five months, for everyone 12 and older. “Throughout the pandemic, as the virus that causes COVID-19 has continuously evolved, the need for the FDA to quickly adapt has meant using the best available science to make informed decisions with the health and safety of the American public in mind,” FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement.
  • FDA authorizes COVID-19 boosters for teens 12-15
    Politico – January 3, 2022
    The Food and Drug Administration authorized COVID-19 booster shots Monday for adolescents ages 12-15, marking the latest step by the U.S. government to green-light more vaccine doses for younger Americans. Regulators shortened the timeframe between completion of the primary vaccination series with the Pfizer-BioNTech shot — the only one authorized for anyone 12 and older — and when someone can get a booster to at least five months, down from six months. The FDA cited lab studies suggesting boosters improve individuals’ antibody response to the Omicron variant.
  • J&J’s booster shot provides strong protection against severe disease from Omicron, a study says.
    New York Times – December 30, 2021
    A Johnson & Johnson booster shot provided strong protection against the Omicron variant, greatly reducing the risk of hospitalization, according to a clinical trial in South Africa. The study, which compared more than 69,000 boosted health care workers with a corresponding group of unvaccinated South Africans, found that two shots of the vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization from Omicron by about 85 percent. In comparison, another study in South Africa found that two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization by about 70 percent.
  • COVID-19 vaccines rarely lead to problems in younger children, according to two C.D.C. reports.
    New York Times – December 30, 2021  
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released two studies on that underscored the importance of vaccinating children against COVID-19. One study found that serious problems among children 5 to 11 who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were extremely rare. The other, which looked at hundreds of pediatric hospitalizations in six cities last summer, found that nearly all of the children who became seriously ill had not been fully vaccinated.
  • Gilead’s Remdesivir COVID-19 Therapy Cuts Risk of Hospitalization in Study
    Wall Street Journal – December 22, 2021
    Gilead Sciences Inc.’s treatment remdesivir significantly reduced hospitalizations in a study of people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and at high-risk of developing severe illness. The findings bolster the company’s case for expanding use of the drug to treat patients early in the course of their disease.
  • Pfizer’s COVID-19 Pill Is Authorized in U.S.
    Wall Street Journal – December 22, 2021
    S. health regulators cleared use of a COVID-19 pill from Pfizer Inc., the first treatment that newly infected patients can now take at home to stay out of the hospital. The authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permits doctors to prescribe the medicine to high-risk patients age 12 and older early in the course of disease, shortly after they develop symptoms.

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 patty.cooper@cabiotech.org.