COVID-19 Update | September 22, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | September 22, 2023

September 22, 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 September 22, 2023. Notable advancements include:

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently cleared updated COVID-19 booster vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for use in people as young as 6 months old.
  • A new study in Nature Communicationssuggests that both prior infection with COVID-19 and prior vaccination with mRNA vaccines can limit the secondary incidence proportion of COVID-19.
  • Researchers from John Hopkins University found that convalescent plasma may lessen the odds of long COVID-19 or development of severe illness.

Recent News

  • Convalescent plasma may lessen the odds of long COVID-19, study suggests
    University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – September 20, 2023
    COVID-19 patients may be less likely to develop severe illness and persistent symptoms if they are treated early with convalescent plasma, according to a nationwide, multicenter follow-up study published yesterday in mBio. Johns Hopkins University researchers led the study, which involved 882 COVID-19 patients participating in a 2021 randomized trial on the effect of SARS-CoV-2 antibody–rich convalescent plasma on hospitalization.
  • Study: Original Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 33% effective against emergency, urgent care in young kids
    University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – September 18, 2023

    A new study in JAMA estimates that the original single-strain Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine conferred 33% protection against COVID-19 emergency department and urgent care visits for children younger than 5 years during Omicron variant predominance. Researchers from Kaiser Permanente and Pfizer conducted a test-negative case-control study among 24,261 patients aged 6 months to 4 years diagnosed as having an acute respiratory infection and tested for COVID-19 at Kaiser Permanente Southern California from July 2022 to May 2023.
  • Sore throat, then congestion: Common COVID-19 symptoms follow a pattern now, doctors say
    NBC News – September 16, 2023
    Doctors say they’re finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish COVID-19 from allergies or the common cold, even as hospitalizations tick up. The illness’ past hallmarks, such as a dry cough or the loss of sense of taste or smell, have become less common. Instead, doctors are observing milder disease, mostly concentrated in the upper respiratory tract. “It isn’t the same typical symptoms that we were seeing before. It’s a lot of congestion, sometimes sneezing, usually a mild sore throat,” said Dr. Erick Eiting, vice chair of operations for emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Downtown in New York City.
  • Protein-based Vaccines Reduce COVID-19 Symptoms
    Precision Vaccinations – September 15, 2023
    After three and a half years after the COVID-19began infecting people, 183 separate vaccines have entered clinical development. Given this unprecedented response by vaccine developers, it could easily be assumed that COVID-19 vaccines have revealed all there is to know. However, in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Gustavo Dayan and colleagues report the results of a phase 3 efficacy trial of a bivalent protein-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, offering new insights into vaccine-mediated protection against COVID-19.
  • A drop under the tongue and you’re done: Researchers test sublingual COVID-19 vaccine in primates
    Fierce Biotech – September 13, 2023
    What if the COVID-19 vaccine could be a simple drop under the tongue instead of a shot in the arm? That’s the result researchers from Japan’s Intelligence & Technology Lab Inc. and the Biomedical Institute of NPO Primate Agora are hoping for. Results of a study published in Biology Methods and Protocols described how they developed a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine for delivery under the tongue, or sublingually. When they tested it in primates, the animals produced antibodies against COVID-19 without side effects.
  • Prior COVID-19 infection, vaccination, can limit contagiousness
    University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – September 12, 2023
    A new study in Nature Communications suggests that both prior infection with COVID-19 and prior vaccination with mRNA vaccines can limit the secondary attack rate of COVID-19. Immunity from prior infections is stronger at limiting contagiousness, but fades quickly, compared to immunity from vaccines, which was longer-lasting. And COVID-19 infections, of course, come with much higher risks of poor outcomes than do COVID-19 vaccines. The study was based on attack rates seen among 50,973 index cases and 111,674 declared contacts of infected people in Geneva from June 2020 to March 2022. The study period covered four variants of concerns (VOCs), and was based on case contacts’ COVID-19 test results and not biological samples.
  • CDC Recommends Updated COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall/Winter Virus Season
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – September 12, 2023
    CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the potentially serious outcomes of COVID-19 illness this fall and winter. Updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will be available later this week. Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID-19, which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended duration.  If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 2 months, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself this fall and winter
  • FDA approves updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer, Moderna
    Biopharma Dive – September 11, 2023
    The Food and Drug Administration on cleared updated COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer and Moderna for use in people as young as 6 months old, paving the way for fall and winter vaccination campaigns. The updated vaccines are designed to better protect against circulating coronavirus strains by targeting a subtype of the omicron variant known scientifically as XBB.1.5. They’re also monovalent, or designed around a single strain, rather than the bivalent shots that were rolled out last year.
  • Unraveling long COVID-19: Here’s what scientists who study the illness want to find out
    NPR – September 9, 2023
    For people suffering from long COVID-19’s often disabling symptoms, including intense fatigue, breathing troubles, cognitive issues and heart palpitations, the list of scientific unknowns may sound defeating. There’s still no validated treatment or diagnostic test specifically for the condition, although there are many candidates. Clinicians who treat long COVID-19 are acutely aware of the unsettled nature of the field. “You do sort of feel like you’re out in the wilderness,” says Dr. Rasika Karnik, medical director of UChicago Medicine’s post-COVID-19 clinic. Karnik first began seeing long COVID-19 patients in the fall of 2020

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If you have any questions about hosting informational briefings for your colleagues serving in the legislature, contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].