COVID-19 Update | March 24, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | March 24, 2023

March 24, 2023

COVID-19 Update | March 24, 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 March 24, 2023. Notable advancements include:

  • Patients who received Paxlovid or a full series of the COVID-19 vaccine saw a reduced risk of developing long COVID-19.
  • A team of researchers found that the bivalent COVID-19 boosters are significantly more effective at offering better protection against the Omicron variant.
  • The World Health Organization announced that they expect to declare an end to the COVID-19 pandemic later this year as statistics on the infection and spread of the virus continue declining.

Recent News

  • Vaccination, Paxlovid decrease risk of long COVID-19, studies show
    CNN – March 23, 2023
    People who are vaccinated or who take Paxlovid during a COVID-19 infection have a lower risk of developing long COVID-19, new research shows. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines long COVID-19 as new, returning or ongoing health issues more than four weeks after an initial infection.According to the CDC, 1 in 5 COVID-19 survivors ages 18 to 64 and 1 in 4 survivors 65 or older have an ongoing health issue that might be attributable to COVID-19 infection. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzed data from 41 studies, including more 860,000 people around the world. Of the four studies with vaccination information of nearly 250,000 people, those who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 had almost half the risk of long COVID-19 than people who weren’t vaccinated.
  • FDA May Authorize Additional COVID-19 Booster Shots
    The Wall Street Journal – March 21, 2023
    Federal health regulators are nearing a decision on whether to authorize a second round of the Omicron-targeted booster shots for the elderly and other people at high-risk of severe COVID-19, people familiar with the agency’s deliberations said. Food and Drug Administration officials could make the decision within a few weeks, the people said. The officials are moving toward authorizing the second shot of the Omicron-targeted shots for people who are 65 years and older or who have weakened immune systems, though the officials haven’t reached a final decision and could change their mind, one of the people said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would then have to recommend the shots for them to become widely available.
  • If you had COVID-19 before you were vaccinated, you might have less immunity than you think, study says
    CNBC – March 21, 2023
    People who caught COVID-19 before they were vaccinated had a weaker immune response to the shots than those who never had the virus, potentially leaving them less protected against reinfection, new research shows. Co-funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study released challenges older research that suggested a prior COVID-19 infection enhanced a vaccinated individual’s immune response — a phenomenon known as hybrid immunity, which some scientists believe provides the best protection against reinfection. In the study, researchers from Stanford University analyzed how immune cells found in the blood called CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells respond to COVID-19 infection and vaccination. Those cells work together to produce an immune response that can help fend off the virus, killing other cells that have been infected.
  • Paxlovid is 80% effective when taken within 5 days of severe COVID-19
    News Medical Life Sciences – March 21, 2023
    In a recent study published in The Lancet’s Infectious Diseases, researchers in the United States evaluated nirmatrelvir–ritonavir treatment effectiveness against hospitalizations and deaths among coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outpatients in the United States of America (USA). In a recent study published in The Lancet’s Infectious Diseases, researchers in the United States evaluated nirmatrelvir–ritonavir treatment effectiveness against hospitalizations and deaths among coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outpatients in the United States of America (USA). The findings indicated that early initiation of treatment conferred a maximal therapeutic benefit, underscoring the importance of prompt SARS-CoV-2 testing and therapy administration to high-risk individuals to reduce the global COVID-19 burden.
  • Bivalent Boosters Offer Better Protection Against Omicron
    National Institutes of Health – March 20, 2023
    SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is continuously evolving, producing new variants. Some of these variants are able to evade the protection offered by the original COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. In response, new vaccine boosters that target more than one variant of the virus were developed. These updated, bivalent boosters are meant to protect people against both the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and Omicron variants. In a study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a team of researchers found that the bivalent boosters were significantly more effective than the original boosters at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
  • Elevated mucosal immune response expedites COVID-19 recovery
    News Medical Life Sciences – March 20, 2023
    Community-based studies have revealed the success of using inhaled budesonide early in treating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to reduce the time to clinical resolution. The Steroids in COVID-19 (STOIC) study investigated the consequences of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection under two therapeutic arms, including inhaled budesonide and usual care.
  • WHO Leader Expects End of COVID-19 Pandemic In 2023
    WebMD – March 18, 2023
    The leader of the World Health Organization said that he expects the organization to declare an end to the COVID-19 pandemic later this year because statistics on the virus keep declining.  “I am confident that this year we will be able to say that COVID-19 is over as a public health emergency of international concern,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a Geneva briefing. For the first time, the weekly number of reported COVID-19 deaths over a four-week period was lower than when WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic three years ago.
  • COVID-19 pill Paxlovid moves closer to full FDA approval
    WBBJ – March 18, 2023
    Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill Paxlovid won another vote of confidence from U.S. health advisers, clearing the way for its full regulatory approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The medication has been used by millions of Americans since the FDA granted it emergency use authorization in late 2021. The agency has the final say on giving Pfizer’s drug full approval and is expected to decide by May. A panel of outside experts voted 16-1 that Paxlovid remains a safe and effective treatment for high-risk adults with COVID-19 who are more likely to face hospitalization and death due to the virus.

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].