COVID-19 Update | June 16, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | June 16, 2023

June 16, 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 June 16, 2023. Notable advancements include:

  • California-based Cue Health’s home COVID-19 test has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s independent panel of advisors recommended that updated COVID-19 shots for the fall and winter target one of the XBB variants, which are now the dominant strains of the virus nationwide.
  • According to a new study, a common drug used for type 3 diabetes shows promise in preventing long-term COVID-19.

Recent News

  • ‘Game changer’: 5 long COVID-19 treatments researchers are most excited about
    San Francisco Chronicle – June 15, 2023
    Three-plus years after the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 may finally be starting to feel like a distant memory for many people. But for those suffering from long COVID, each day is a reminder that the effects of the disease can linger long after it’s gone. More than 15% of American adults have experienced long COVID — which can include symptoms like brain fog, exhaustion and loss of smell and taste — for weeks, months or years after infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Three-Dose COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Recommended for Immunocompromised
    Hematology Advisor – June 15, 2023
    A 3-dose series of the mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine was more effective at preventing infection and severe outcomes than the 2-dose series in immunocompromised individuals, according to study results published in Vaccine. Researchers conducted a matched cohort study at Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) to analyze the relative vaccine effectiveness of the 3-dose mRNA-1273 primary series COVID-19 vaccine among immunocompromised.
  • Vaccination against COVID-19 may consistently reduce the risk of long COVID symptoms
    News Medical & Life Sciences – June 15, 2023
    COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be highly efficient in preventing severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS-CoV-2, which causes severe illness, mortality, and transmission in communities. However, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)’s recent review suggests that the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing long-term symptoms is still unclear. Previous studies have not extensively examined the effectiveness of vaccination in preventing long-term complications in individuals with COVID-19. Studies have reported mixed results regarding the effectiveness of vaccination in reducing the risk of long COVID-19. While some studies have shown a decrease in risk, others have only noted reductions for specific symptoms or no overall risk reduction.
  • COVID-19 susceptibility mechanism discovered using a newly created tool
    News Medical & Life Sciences – June 15, 2023
    Researchers have discovered a mechanism for COVID-19 susceptibility using a newly created tool. The tool, GASPACHO, captures dynamic changes in gene expression along the innate immune response, allowing researchers to identify genes and molecular pathways associated with disease risk that have previously been too complex to detect or interpret. Using GASPACHO (GAuSsian Processes for Association mapping leveraging Cell HeterOgeneity), researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the National Center for Child Health and Development in Japan, Tel Aviv University and their collaborators have identified a gene variant that affects COVID-19 susceptibility.
  • FDA advisors recommend that new COVID-19 vaccines target an omicron XBB variant this fall
    CNBC – June 15, 2023
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s independent panel of advisors recommended that updated COVID-19 shots for the fall and winter target one of the XBB variants, which are now the dominant strains of the virus nationwide. Advisors also generally agreed that the new shots should specifically target a variant called XBB.1.5.
  • Using heart and lung stem cells to better understand how COVID-19 impacts different organs
    News Medical & Life Sciences – June 13, 2023
    Researchers have used heart and lung stem cells infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 to better understand how the disease impacts different organs, paving the way for more targeted treatments. The research, co-led by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), found the responses to SARS-CoV-2 varied significantly depending on the cell type, allowing the team to identify effective anti-viral drugs to treat infection in heart and lung cells.
  • Common diabetes drug shown to prevent long COVID-19
    CIDRAP – June 13, 2023
    A 14-day course of metformin, a common drug used to manage type 2 diabetes, prevents long COVID-19, according to a new study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The promising results come from the COVID-OUT study, which looked at three readily available drugs: ivermectin, fluvoxamine, and metformin, for both COVID-19 treatment and long-COVID-19 prevention. All three drugs had shown antiviral properties in vivo against SARS-CoV-2, and all had been promising medical treatments for the virus, as they are cheap and safe. Now, more than 2 years after the outpatients trial began, metformin is the only medical intervention in the study shown to prevent long COVID-19.
  • Cue Health racks up FDA’s first de novo nod for an at-home COVID-19 test
    Fierce Biotech – June 7, 2023
    Two years after its cartridge-based diagnostic became the first COVID-19 test given emergency use authorization by the FDA for non-prescription, at-home use, Cue Health has now scored the agency’s first regular-use clearance for an at-home COVID-19 test. Cue announced the de novo clearance for its molecular test on Tuesday. According to the company, not only does the green light represent a milestone in COVID-19 diagnostics, but it’s also the first de novo clearance issued for a home-use test for any respiratory disease.
  • Large study shows safety of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in young children
    CIDRAP – June 6, 2023
    Messenger RNA vaccines for COVID-19 pose little risk to young children, with no myocarditis (inflammation of heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation around the heart) observed in vaccine recipients age 0 to 4. The reassuring findings were published today in Pediatrics. The safety data were collected via the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), a collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that collects patient information from eight major health systems in the United States, including five Kaiser Permanente regions in Colorado, California, and Washington, as well as the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, HealthPartners in Minneapolis, and Denver Health in Colorado.
  • Novavax exec says its new COVID-19 shot should work against variants on the rise
    Reuters – June 5, 2023
    Novavax Inc’s head of research and development said an updated COVID-19 vaccine the company is already producing is likely to be protective against other fast-growing coronavirus variants circulating in the U.S. Protein-based vaccines like Novavax’s take longer to produce than the messenger RNA-based versions made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. Because of that, the company said earlier this year it had begun producing a version of the vaccine to target the currently dominant XBB.1.5 variant of the virus at commercial scale.
  • Risk of smell loss from COVID-19 is as low as 6% compared with initial variants
    VCU News – June 5, 2023
    The risk of losing your sense of smell and taste from the most recent COVID-19 omicron variants is only 6-7% of what it was during the early stages of the pandemic, according to a new study led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine. The findings were published in the journal Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. “At the beginning of the pandemic, smell and taste loss were considered common symptoms of COVID-19. Before viral tests were readily accessible, we relied a lot more on such symptoms to diagnose those infected. However, as different variants of the COVID-19 virus have emerged, the types of symptoms most commonly experienced changed as well,” said Evan Reiter, M.D., who is the medical director of VCU Health’s Smell and Taste Disorders Center, a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the VCU School of Medicine and lead author of the new study.

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 hosting informational briefings for your colleagues serving in the legislature, contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].