COVID-19 Update | October 14 2022

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | October 14, 2022

October 14, 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 October 14, 2022. Notable advancements include:

  • Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine booster, adapted for the BA.4 and the BA.5 subvariants of Omicron, generated a strong immune response and was well-tolerated according to recent trial data in real humans.
  • The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control authorized and recommended Pfizer and Moderna’s Omicron specific booster vaccines in children aged 5-11.
  • The United States has extended the COVID-19 pandemic’s status as a public health emergency for an additional 90 days.

Recent News

  • U.S. extends COVID-19 public health emergency declarationReuters – October 13, 2022The United States extended the COVID-19 pandemic’s status as a public health emergency for another 90 days, thereby preserving measures like high payments to hospitals and expanded Medicaid. The extension was announced by U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra on Thursday. Last month, President Joe Biden said in an interview that “the pandemic is over,” which prompted criticism from health experts.
  • Where Can I Find a New COVID-19 Booster Shot Near Me — Now Including Kids 5 and Up?KQED – October 13, 2022New Moderna and Pfizer booster shots of the reformulated COVID-19 vaccine are now available, following a review process from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Remember that a certain location may only be offering a certain type of new booster, whether that’s Moderna or Pfizer. So be sure that the location you’re walking into or making an appointment for offers the type of vaccine you need or want, particularly if you’re trying to find a Pfizer booster for a 5-year-old (as Moderna’s booster is only available for children age 6 and up.).
  • Pfizer, BioNTech find updated COVID-19 booster protects against Omicron in trialReuters – October 13, 2022Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine booster, adapted for the BA.4 and the BA.5 subvariants of Omicron, generated a strong immune response and was well-tolerated in testing on humans. With the results, which the companies described as consistent with preclinical data, the partners are following up with human trial data that had previously been missing from their successful filings for regulatory approval.
  • First human results show new COVID-19 booster is safe and triggers an appropriate immune responseUSA Today – October 13, 2022The first data in people on the new COVID-19 boosters shows them to be just as safe as previous shots and to provide a strong immune response. The new boosters target both the original version of the virus that causes COVID-19 as well the BA.4 and BA.5 variants that have dominated since early summer. The boosters were authorized based on animal data so they could be available this fall, ahead of an expected surge in cases later in the year.
  • CDC recommends COVID-19 omicron booster shots for kids as young as 5 years oldCNBC – October 12, 2022The CDC recommended COVID-19 omicron booster shots for kids as young as 5 years old just hours after the FDA authorized them. U.S. health officials believe the new boosters, which target the omicron BA.5 subvariant, will provide substantially better protection against infection and disease.
  • Major worldwide study clusters long COVID-19 symptoms into 3 groupsFierce Healthcare – October 11, 2022Healthcare systems around the world facing the challenge of diagnosing long COVID-19 might benefit by separating the symptoms of the disease into three general clusters: persistent fatigue with bodily pain or mood swings, cognitive problems and ongoing respiratory problems that persist at least three months after acute infection. The three-month cutoff comes from the World Health Organization saying that’s how long somebody should have symptoms before being diagnosed with long COVID-19, aka post-COVID-19 condition. The clusters expand on three key symptoms that a WHO consensus exercise focused on—fatigue, memory loss and shortness of breath.
  • COVID-19 vaccines for kids: they’re safe and they work — so why is uptake so patchy?Nature – October 11, 2022About 120 countries have now authorized COVID-19 vaccines for use in children, reaching hundreds of millions of arms. The majority of vaccines have been approved for children aged five and older. Data are trickling out on how they fare against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and in particular the potent Omicron variant. Information is patchy because of the variant’s late emergence, and the millions of kids who had already been exposed to the virus by the time roll-outs started. Many governments also cut back on regular testing for COVID-19, meaning that the period of rich data on infections and vaccines is effectively over.
  • U.S. is tracking several omicron subvariants, but new boosters should offer protection, White House saysCNBC – October 11, 2022Dr. Ashish Jha, head of the White House COVID-19 task force, said health officials are keeping a close eye on several COVID-19 omicron subvariants because they render many treatments ineffective. But the new booster shots should provide a much higher degree of protection against them because they are all descendent from omicron BA.2 or omicron BA.5, Jha told reporters at the White House. People should get their new booster by Halloween so they have protection by the time families gather for Thanksgiving, he said.
  • Metformin reduces risk of severe COVID-19 in diabetic patientsNews Medical Life Sciences – October 10, 2022Metformin, which is another antidiabetic drug, has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory activity. In fact, reduced mortality has been observed following treatment with metformin among high-risk diabetic COVID-19 patients. Few other oral antidiabetic agents have been observed to bind to SARS-CoV-2 receptors and inhibit the transcription and replication of the virus. GLP1 analogs could also be used for the treatment of COVID-19 due to their anti-obesogenic, anti-inflammatory, and pulmonary protective effects.
  • The Power of PaxlovidThe New York Times – October 7, 2022A worrisome pattern has emerged with Paxlovid and other drugs that reduce the severity of COVID-19: Many people who would benefit most are not receiving the treatments, likely causing hundreds of unnecessary deaths every day in the U.S. There seem to be two main explanations for the drugs’ underuse. Dr. Robert Wachter, the chair of the medicine department at the University of California, San Francisco, said that he thought the underuse of Paxlovid was already associated with thousands of preventable deaths in the U.S. “The public doesn’t seem to understand that the evidence around hospitalization and deaths is really powerful,” Wachter 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].