COVID-19 Update | March 4, 2022

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | March 4, 2022

March 4, 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 4, 2022. Notable advancements include:

  • Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill was recommended for high-risk patients by a World Health Organization panel.
  • Novavax is pursuing full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine in the second half of this year and applied for emergency use authorization last month.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech was highly effective at reducing the risk of severe disease in children 17 years and younger during the Omicron surge, a recent study showed.

Recent News

  • You’ll probably need a second COVID-19 booster shot — here’s when experts say it could happen
    CNBC – March 3, 2022
    Pandemic restrictions may be easing across the country, amid declining COVID-19 cases — but experts say the virus is going to stick around for a long time. That likely means you’ll need another COVID-19 booster shot sometime in the future. The big question is: When? There have been mixed reports on the matter. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing early data that could point to the authorization of a new booster dose this coming fall — potentially as the first in a series of annual COVID-19 vaccinations, much like flu shots — according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • WHO recommends Merck’s COVID-19 pill for high-risk patients
    Reuters – March 2, 2022
    A World Health Organization (WHO) panel backed the use of Merck & Co Inc’s COVID-19 antiviral pill for high-risk patients. The expert panel conditionally recommended the pill, molnupiravir, for patients with non-severe disease who are at high risk of hospitalization, such as the immunocompromised, the unvaccinated, older people and those with chronic diseases. The recommendation was based on new data from six clinical trials involving 4,796 patients.
  • Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Protected Kids During Omicron, CDC Study Finds
    Wall Street Journal – March 1, 2022
    The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE was highly effective at reducing the risk of severe disease in children 17 years and younger during the Omicron surge but didn’t work as well at preventing infection, according to a new government study. The two-dose vaccine reduced the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization in children 5 to 11 years by 74% and by 92% or higher in children 12 to 17, according to the study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • People who test positive for COVID-19 can receive antiviral pills at pharmacies for free, Biden says
    CNBC – March 1, 2022
    President Joe Biden said the Americans who test positive for COVID-19 can receive antiviral pills for free at local pharmacies and community health centers under a new program that launches this month. “We’re launching the ‘Test to Treat’ initiative so people can get tested at a pharmacy, and if they’re positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost,” Biden said during his State of the Union speech.
  • Hundreds of COVID-19 trials could provide a deluge of new drugs
    Nature – March 1, 2022
    It takes Lawrence Tabak about 15 minutes to rattle off all the potential COVID-19 treatments being tested in the clinical trial program he oversees: a lengthy, tongue-twisting list that includes drugs to disarm the virus, to soothe inflammation and to stop blood clots. Over the past two years, the ACTIV program, run by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), has included more than 30 studies — 13 of them ongoing — of therapeutic agents chosen from a list of 800 candidates. Several of the studies are due to report results in the first half of the year.
  • Novavax expects to apply for full approval of COVID-19 vaccine in H2
    Reuters – February 28, 2022
    Novavax Inc said it would pursue full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine in the second half of this year. “We expect to gain additional authorizations where we have already filed, including in the U.S. We will pursue full approval of our vaccine including filing our BLA (biologics license application), in the second half of 2022,” Chief Executive Officer Stanley Erck said during a post-earnings call.
  • Moderna bets on booster demand, advancing new ‘bivalent’ COVID-19 shot
    BioPharma Dive – February 24, 2022
    Moderna will begin testing a COVID-19 vaccine that targets both the original coronavirus strain and the omicron variant, announcing trials in the U.S. and U.K. that will assess its efficacy in people who have already received boosters. Company executives said additional protection will be necessary as they expect immunity from boosters to wane over time and the virus to continue to circulate. While new variants may emerge, a vaccine that stimulates antibodies to omicron could help broaden protection against a wider spectrum of coronavirus strains, they said.

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].