COVID-19 Update | May 6, 2022

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | May 6, 2022

May 6, 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 May 6, 2022. Notable advancements include:

Recent News

  • Why getting COVID-19 is still nothing like getting the flu — even if it’s just as ‘normal’San Francisco Chronicle – May 4, 2022At the beginning of the pandemic, experts noted, drawing comparisons between COVID-19 and the flu was highly politicized — a way to minimize a new disease that would go on to kill nearly a million people in the U.S. alone. But now, with vaccines and treatments more widely available, comparing the two is more appropriate. “Today, for a vaccinated and boosted person, the chances of a severe outcome are comparable to the flu,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, the chair of medicine at UCSF. He noted that Paxlovid, the antiviral pill used to treat COVID-19, even further reduces the chance of death.
  • You Tested Positive for COVID-19: Should You Take Paxlovid?AARP – May 4, 2022With mask mandates fading, in-person events resuming and highly contagious strains of COVID-19 circulating, avoiding COVID-19 is becoming increasingly difficult. And while vaccines and boosters can help to curb the worst of the disease, people at high risk for severe illness from their age or an underlying health condition now have an additional tool to help ensure their symptoms don’t progress to a scary state: an at-home antiviral pill. Following its authorization in December, this pill, called Paxlovid, was initially in short supply and therefore out of reach for many Americans.
  • Researchers describe the human element in the alchemy behind the Moderna vaccine and other new medicinesSTAT – May 4, 2022The pandemic did not allow time for reflection. Working with the National Institutes of Health, which was helping to run the trial of Moderna’s vaccine, she and her new colleagues set benchmarks for when it would be OK to push forward into larger studies. “I spent a lot of sleepless nights wondering if the decisions we were making and the speed of execution was going to be the right decision,” she said. At the STAT event, which gathered several drug developers to talk about their work and what they have learned from success, others also spoke about wrestling with scientific and psychological issues involved in conducting a highly technical process driven by human beings.
  • Nose Spray Vaccines Could Quash COVID-19 Virus VariantsScientific American – May 3, 2022The relentless evolution of COVID-19 has taken a bit of the shine off the vaccines developed during the first year of the pandemic. Versions of the virus that now dominate circulation—Omicron and its subvariants—are more transmissible and adept at evading the body’s immune defenses than its original form. The current shots to the arm can still prevent serious illness, but their ability to ward off infection completely has been diminished. And part of the reason may be the location of the jabs, which some scientists now want to change.
  • Proven mRNA Technologies Embolden Vaccine and Drug MakersGen News – May 2, 2022In the vaccine industry, as well as in the broader pharmaceutical industry, expectations for mRNA technology used to be fairly modest. But all that changed with the urgent response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, the world witnessed a pair of mRNA breakthroughs. These were, of course, the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. To the casual observer, these vaccines may have seemed like singular achievements or overnight successes. However, they are part of a larger and older story, one that includes the development of many enabling technologies, including technologies for stabilizing mRNA and for engineering safe and effective liposomes and lipid nanoparticles.
  • FDA Has Granted Veru a Pre-Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Meeting Date for Positive Sabizabulin Phase 3 COVID-19 StudyYahoo News – May 2, 2022Veru Inc, a biopharmaceutical company, today announced that the FDA has granted the Company a pre-Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) meeting on May 10, 2022, for the positive Phase 3 COVID-19 study for sabizabulin. “We want to keep our investors informed of the important steps as we proceed through the EUA process. We appreciate FDA’s actions to expedite this process as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again,” said Mitchell S. Steiner MD, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Veru Inc.
  • Stem Cell Therapy: The Latest Contender in Pharma’s Fight Against Long COVID-19Biospace – May 2, 2022As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Therapeutic Solutions International is jumping into the COVID-19 treatment space. The company is not making vaccines or antivirals—instead, it is targeting long COVID-19 lung damage with a new stem cell therapy. Therapeutic Solutions just launched a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III study of its new treatment, JadiCell. In centers across multiple countries, 128 patients struggling with COVID-19-associated lung failure will receive either JadiCell treatment or a placebo. After 60 days, the participants will be evaluated according to respiratory failure rates.
  • Virus mutations aren’t slowing down. New Omicron subvariant proves it.Washington Post – May 1, 2022During those terrifying early days of the pandemic, scientists offered one piece of reassuring news about the novel COVID-19: It mutated slowly. The earliest mutations did not appear to be consequential. A vaccine, if and when it was invented, might not need regular updating over time. This proved overly optimistic. The coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has had billions of chances to reconfigure itself as it has spread across the planet, and it continues to evolve, generating new variants and subvariants at a clip that has kept scientists on their toes.
  • FDA panel to discuss Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for adults, Pfizer and Moderna shots for kids in JuneCNBC – April 29, 2022The Food and Drug Administration’s independent advisors will meet in June to discuss Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults as well as Pfizer and Moderna’s shots for younger kids, a sign that the vaccines are moving a step closer to authorization. The FDA committee will review Novavax’s vaccine for adults ages 18 and over on June 7. The FDA has selected three possible dates – June 8, 21 and 22 – to discuss Moderna and Pfizer’s shots for children under age 5 who are not yet eligible for vaccination.

Rely on California Biotechnology Foundation to monitor breaking news and provide updates on the latest advancements in COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines and treatments.

Stay informed on the latest news and trends on the economic and health benefits of this industry by visiting the new CABiotech.org

If you have any questions about informational briefings contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or patty.cooper@cabiotech.org.