COVID-19 Update | July 8, 2022
July 8, 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 July 8, 2022. Notable advancements include:
- Pfizer and BioNTech announced they would start clinical trials for a universal COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the second half of 2022
- Pharmacists can prescribe the leading COVID-19 pill directly to patients under a new U.S. policy that’s intended to expand the use of Pfizer’s drug Paxlovid
- Pfizer and BioNTech to test universal COVID-19 vaccine candidate
Medical News Today – July 7, 2022
COVID-19 vaccines wane in efficacy as COVID mutates over time. While two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine were 85% effective in preventing hospital admission for infection with the Alpha and Delta variants of SARS-CoV-2, they were only 65% effective in preventing hospitalization following an Omicron infection. To overcome waning COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, researchers are developing a universal COVID-19 vaccine. Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced they will start clinical trials for a universal COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the second half of 2022.
- Vaccinations Cut U.S. COVID Deaths by 58%: Study
WebMD – July 6, 2022
The U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program slashed the coronavirus’ expected death rate by as much as 58%, saving hundreds of thousands of lives during the first two waves of the pandemic, a new study says. Computer models estimate that vaccines prevented 235,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States between December 2020 and September 2021, blunting the death toll from both the original virus and its Delta variant. Vaccination also prevented 1.6 million hospitalizations and 27 million COVID-19 infections, according to the data generated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- When are we getting another shot?
CNN – July 6, 2022
COVID-19 vaccine boosters might look a little different by the end of this year. US regulators advised manufacturers to update the COVID-19 vaccine in time for the fall booster program with new formulas that would better protect against the more infectious Omicron subvariants, which are dominating coronavirus transmissions in the United States. The FDA has not advised manufacturers to change the primary vaccine for those who still have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccination. While current vaccines have been providing strong protection against severe disease since they were rolled out at the end of 2020, Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are better able to evade immunity from vaccines and previous infections, Jen Christensen reports.
- FDA allows pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill
PBS – July 6, 2022
Pharmacists can prescribe the leading COVID-19 pill directly to patients under a new U.S. policy that’s intended to expand use of Pfizer’s drug Paxlovid. The Food and Drug Administration said pharmacists can begin screening patients to see if they are eligible for Paxlovid and then prescribe the medication, which has been shown to curb the worst effects of COVID-19. Previously only physicians could prescribe the antiviral drug. The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising again, though they remain near their lowest levels since the coronavirus outbreak began in 2020.
- Newly published study shows cancer drug cuts risk of death for hospitalized high-risk COVID-19 patients
CBS News – July 6, 2022
A drug initially developed in hopes of treating cancer patients could significantly cut the risk of death among hospitalized COVID-19patients who are at high risk of severe disease. The findings on the drug, called sabizabulin, were first announced in early April by drugmaker Veru, which submitted an emergency use authorization request last month. If the Food and Drug Administration signs off, it could add another option to the stable of drugs doctors turn to for treating hospitalized cases.
- Long COVID persists, but doctors are working on treatments
The Ct Mirror – July 5, 2022
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in fivepeople under 65 who have had COVID-19 experienced at least one health issue that could be deemed long COVID-19. For people 65 and older, that figure is higher — one in four. Other studies have estimated that anywhere from 10% to 30% of COVID-19 cases result in long COVID-19, while a few — including one from the Penn State College of Medicine — say more than half of people who had the disease develop the condition. Although there is currently no cure, treatment programs have emerged with the aim of managing symptoms and helping people to recover as much as possible. And research is underway to better understand the condition and what interventions might prove effective.
- 5 Good Reasons to Get Your Young Kid Vaccinated Against COVID-19
Time – July 5, 2022
Everyone in the U.S. 6 months or older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized the shots in June for very young children, from 6 months to 5 years old. They’re the last age demographic in the U.S. to become eligible to get vaccinated during the pandemic. But while studies that follow kids for longer periods of time are ongoing, the current evidence points to more benefits than risks of the vaccines for little ones.
- Researchers develop rapid COVID-19 test to identify variants in hours
Science Daily – July 4, 2022
Last year, pathologist Jeffrey SoRelle, M.D., and colleagues developed CoVarScan, a rapid COVID-19 test that detects the signatures of eight hotspots on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Now, after testing CoVarScan on more than 4,000 patient samples collected at UT Southwestern, the team reports in Clinical Chemistrythat their test is as accurate as other methods used to diagnose COVID-19 and can successfully differentiate between all current variants of SARS-CoV-2.
- How Long Can You Test Positive for COVID-19 Following Infection?
NBC Chicago – July 3, 2022
Most people who contract COVID-19 likely won’t experience symptoms for more than two weeks at most, but could test positive even after that. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people who contract COVID-19 can have detectable virus for up to three months, but that doesn’t mean they are contagious. When it comes to testing, the PCR tests are more likely to continue picking up the virus following infection. “PCR test can stay positive for a long time,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in March. The CDC notes that tests “are best used early in the course of illness to diagnose COVID-19 and are not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to evaluate duration of infectiousness.”
- Pfizer seeks approval from US FDA for Covid-19 treatment
Pharmaceutical Technology – July 1, 2022
Pfizer has submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking approvalfor Paxlovid to treat COVID-19 patients at increased disease progression risk. An inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 main protease, Paxlovid is intended to be given orally. Due to the oral form, the therapy can be prescribed in the early infection stage to avert severe illness. Paxlovid received emergency use authorization to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients aged 12 years and above who are at increased disease progression risk.
- CDC data highlight benefit from boosters in preventing deaths
SF Chronicle – July 1, 2022
Figures released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention charting COVID-19 outcomes across the country in April reaffirmed the benefits of vaccines and boosters in stark detail. Among people 50 and older, those who were unvaccinated had a 42 times greater chance of dying from COVID-19than those who were vaccinated with two or more boosters. Even among those who were vaccinated and boosted, having had only a single booster shot resulted in a four times higher risk of dying than if two or more boosters had been administered.
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