COVID-19 Update | March 25, 2022
March 25, 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 March 25, 2022. Notable advancements include:
- Moderna said it would seek the emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 6 years old.
- Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines remained highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death from the Omicron variant, a study showed.
- Growing research shows that vaccines are effective at preventing long COVID, according to a new study.
- What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines for little kids
Los Angeles Times – March 24, 2022
COVID-19 vaccinations for the youngest children just might be a step closer. Moderna intends to seek U.S. authorization for kid-sized shots, releasing early study results that suggest the two small doses work in tots younger than 6. Within weeks, competitor Pfizer hopes to learn if three of its even lower-dose shots do, too. Moderna says tots as young as 6 months developed high levels of virus-fighting antibodies from shots containing a quarter of the dose given to adults. Full study results are yet to come but the early findings suggest the vaccine may protect against severe illness in kids just as it does in adults.
- Evidence grows that vaccines lower the risk of getting long COVID-19
NPR – March 24, 2022
The chance of even a mild case of COVID-19 turning into a long-term, debilitating medical condition is one of the greatest fears of Americans trying to navigate the pandemic, which is again taking a turn as new data shows the BA.2 subvariant is taking hold in the U.S. Unfortunately, the only sure way to avoid long COVID-19 is not to catch the virus in the first place. But there is now a growing body of research that’s offering at least some reassurance for those who do end up getting infected — being fully vaccinated seems to substantially cut the risk of later developing the persistent symptoms that characterize long COVID-19.
- Moderna to Seek Authorization of Its COVID-19 Vaccine for Young Children
New York Times – March 23, 2022
Moderna said that it would seek emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 6, after interim results from its clinical trial showed that volunteers in that age group had a similar immune response to young adults when given a dose one-fourth as strong. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the White House, said at a briefing that Moderna’s shot proved safe for young children.
- Studies Suggest Links Between COVID-19 and Diabetes, Pregnancy Risks and Dementia
Biospace – March 22, 2022
The most obvious risks from COVID-19 are hospitalization and death. But study after study shows the disease comes with an increased risk of a number of health problems, including diabetes. One of the best ways to avoid those risks is to get vaccinated. Being diabetic is one of the clear health conditions associated with a greater risk of COVID-19. But what is starting to emerge from the data is that people infected with COVID-19 were at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes within a year compared to people who did not contract COVID-19.
- No evidence COVID-19 vaccines lead to young deaths – ONS
BBC News – March 22, 2022
There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have led to an increase in deaths in young people, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been linked to very rare heart problems, particularly in young men. The ONS looked at outcomes shortly after vaccination, when the risk of any side effect is highest. The chance of a young person dying in that time was no different to later periods the researchers looked at. Julie Stanborough, deputy director at the ONS said: “We have found no evidence of an increased risk of cardiac death in young people following COVID-19 vaccination.”
- Pfizer to supply 4 million COVID-19 antiviral treatments to poorer nations through UNICEF
CNBC – March 22, 2022
Pfizer expects to start supplying the antiviral pills, Paxlovid, to UNICEF beginning next month and will continue to do so through the end of the year. The company would not disclose the financial terms of the agreement when asked by CNBC. Pfizer has also licensed Paxlovid through the Medicines Patent Pool, a U.N.-backed public health organization, which will allow other companies to produce generic, low-cost version of the COVID-19 treatment. While Pfizer is widely licensing Paxlovid for generic manufacturing, the drugmaker has not done the same for its COVID-19 vaccine.
- Moderna expands COVID-19 vaccines to treat related illnesses
Fox Business – March 22, 2022
Moderna said that it would expand its COVID-19 vaccine to treat related illnesses. The biotech company announced the extension of its “mRNA pipeline” with two development programs that build on the company’s experience with the “Spikevax” vaccine. The programs include a combination respiratory vaccine candidate and a new initiative against all four of the endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV). The respiratory combination vaccine program will be launched to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The new combination respiratory vaccine candidate (mRNA-1230) is envisioned as an annual booster targeting the diseases.
- Moderna Announces New 3-in-1 Vaccine Program
Barrons – March 22, 2022
Moderna announced a program to develop a combination vaccine to protect against COVID-19, the flu, and respiratory syncytial virus. The company has extensively discussed the program in the past as a step in its long-term plan to develop a single annual booster vaccine that protects against a range of respiratory viruses. Moderna is already testing a stand-alone flu vaccine, a stand-alone RSV vaccine, and various versions of its COVID-19 vaccine, and has a combination flu and COVID-19 vaccine in preclinical trials.
- Pfizer and Moderna vaccines proved very effective against COVID-19 Omicron variant, study shows
Yahoo News – March 21, 2022
The two main COVID-19 vaccines used in the U.S., Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s, remained highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death from the Omicron variant, even if they were less effective at preventing mild infections, a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. And people who got a third dose fared best. Two doses of the vaccines were 79 percent effective at preventing people from dying or going on ventilators during the Omicron surge, the tracking report found, while those who got a booster shot ended up with 94 percent protection.
- Moderna, citing need for ‘flexibility,’ seeks broad clearance of fourth COVID-19 shot
BioPharma Dive – March 18, 2022
Moderna has asked the Food and Drug Administration to clear a fourth dose of its COVID-19 vaccine for adults 18 and over, a broader request than Pfizer and BioNTech made earlier this week. Moderna’s submission, like Pfizer’s, is based on recently published research in Israel and elsewhere showing diminished protection against the omicron variant that another booster may restore. But while Pfizer only aims to provide another shot to people 65 and older, Moderna seeks clearance in all adults to “provide flexibility” for doctors and public health officials, the company said.
- 35 companies sign on to produce generic versions of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill.
New York Times – March 17, 2022
Thirty-five manufacturers around the world have signed agreements to produce generic versions of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pills and sell them inexpensively in 95 lower-income countries that together are home to more than half the world’s people. The Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed nonprofit organization that negotiated a licensing agreement with Pfizer last fall, announced the roster of participating companies.
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If you have any questions about informational briefings contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].