COVID-19 Update | March 3, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | March 3, 2023

March 3, 2023

COVID-19 Update | March 3, 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 3, 2023. Notable advancements include:

  • Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted for Emergency Use Authorization of their COVID-19 booster dose for children under 5 years old to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • A study published in Nature Communications found that mothers who got vaccinated against COVID-19 during pregnancy pass on some protection to their newborns.
  • Bay Area based Lucira Health’s dual test for COVID-19 and influenza has been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Recent News

  • Infants gain protection from vaccinated mothers, study finds
    The San Francisco Chronicle – March 2, 2023
    Mothers who are vaccinated against COVID-19 during pregnancy pass off some protection to their newborns, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed health records for more than 30,000 babies born to members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California between December 2020 and May 2022, comparing the likelihood of positive COVID-19 tests for babies of mothers who received two or more doses of the vaccine during pregnancy with babies of mothers who were unvaccinated. They found that children of vaccinated mothers were better protected for at least six months after birth.
  • Pfizer and BioNTech Submit for U.S. Emergency Use Authorization of Omicron BA.4/BA.5-Adapted Bivalent COVID-19 Booster in Children Under 5 Years
    Pfizer Newsroom – March 1, 2023
    Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of a booster (fourth) dose of the companies’ Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted bivalent COVID-19 vaccine in children 6 months through 4 years of age (also referred to as under 5 years).
  • Global cases down 76%, deaths down 66%
    University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – March 1, 2023
    There were over 4.8 million new COVID-19 cases and over 39,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported globally in the last 28 days, according to the latest epidemiological update from the World Health Organization. The figures mark a decrease of 76% in cases and 66% in deaths compared to the previous 28-day period, the U.N. health agency said. The countries with the highest number of newly reported deaths were the United States, China, Japan, Brazil and the United Kingdom. But all saw declines over the past month.
  • What to Know About Interferon Lambda, a Potential New COVID-19 Treatment
    Self – February 28, 2023
    There’s a new injectable drug in development that’s generating some buzz: It’s called pegylated interferon lambda. A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine(NEJM) in early February included 931 people who received the interferon lambda treatment; 1,018 people were given a placebo. A majority of the participants—83%, to be exact—had been vaccinated against COVID-19. During the study, 25 people in the interferon group and 57 people in the placebo group landed in the hospital with COVID-19—that’s a 51% difference in mainly vaccinated people, a group that already has some protection against the virus. The researchers concluded that the odds of visiting an emergency room or being hospitalized with COVID-19, regardless of dominant virus variants and vaccination status, were “significantly lower” in those who received the treatment compared to the placebo.
  • Governor Newsom Marks End of California’s COVID-19 State of Emergency
    Office of Governor Gavin Newsom – February 28, 2023
    Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation terminating the state’s COVID-19 State of Emergency, as previously announced in October. The state’s SMARTER Plan will maintain California’s operational preparedness to address the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to guide the state’s work to support communities across the state. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and treatment continue to be available at sites within local communities across the state.
  • FDA grants emergency use for at-home COVID-19-flu test
    University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – February 27, 2023
    Medical technology company Lucira Health, Inc, of Emeryville, California, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted its dual test for COVID-19 and influenza emergency use authorization (EUA). The Lucira COVID-19 & Flu Home Test is approved for over-the-counter (non-prescription) use at home and for other non-laboratory sites. The company said the molecular test performed similarly for COVID-19 and influenza A and B as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in clinical trials. It is the first at-home COVID-19 and flu test to be granted an EUA and the first approved at-home flu test.
  • Pfizer/BioNTech apply for full FDA approval of updated COVID-19 vaccine
    Reuters – February 24, 2023
    Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE said they filed an application to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a full approval of their Omicron-adapted COVID-19 vaccine. The companies are seeking approval of the updated vaccine both as a primary course and a booster dose for individuals 12 years of age and above. Advisers to the FDA in January had unanimously voted in favor of using the same coronavirus strain for the initial COVID-19 vaccine doses and the boosters to simplify the vaccination regimen in the United States.
  • Study analyzes the potential of a natural amino acid as new way to cure COVID-19
    News Medical Life Sciences – February 24, 2023
    After more than two years since its discovery, there is still no effective cure for COVID-19. Even though vaccines have lowered the impact of outbreaks, patients that contract the disease can only receive supportive care while they wait for their own body to clear the infection. A promising COVID-19 treatment strategy that has been gaining traction lately is targeting angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). This is a receptor found on the cell membrane that allows entry of the virus into the cell due to its high affinity for SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein. The idea is that reducing the levels of ACE2 on the membrane of cells could be a way to prevent the virus from entering them and replicating, thereby lowering its infectious capabilities.

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 informational briefings contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].