COVID-19 Update | September 30, 2022

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | September 30, 2022

September 30 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 September 30, 2022. Notable advancements include:

  • Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration to use their two-pronged vaccine as a booster shot for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
  • New research shows that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant helps pass protective antibodies onto newborns.
  • As updated COVID-19 boosters become more readily available, scientists, doctors, and public health professionals are answering common questions about the benefits and considerations of getting a new dose.

Recent News

  • Repurposing existing drugs to fight new COVID-19 variantsMSU Today – September 29, 2022Finding new ways to treat the novel COVID-19 and its ever-changing variants has been a challenge for researchers, especially when the traditional drug development and discovery process can take years. A Michigan State University researcher and his team are taking a hi-tech approach to determine whether drugs already on the market can pull double duty in treating new COVID-19 variants. With the virus’s signature and knowing which genes need to be suppressed and which genes need to be activated, the team was able to use a computer program to screen a drug library consisting of FDA-approved or investigational drugs to find candidates that could correct the expression of signature genes and further inhibit COVID-19 from replicating.
  • Two COVID-19 boosters effective against severe Omicron in nursing homesUniversity of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – September 29, 2022A study today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that US nursing home residents who received a second mRNA COVID-19 vaccine booster dose 60 days earlier were 26% protected against Omicron infection, 74% against hospitalization or death, and 90% against death alone. The results demonstrate the importance of second COVID-19 booster doses in preventing poor outcomes among nursing home residents, the researchers concluded, noting that the relatively short follow-up period didn’t allow assessment of waning over time.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine in Pregnancy Helps Baby, Even If Mom’s Been Infected: StudyU.S. News – September 29, 2022Pregnant women who get COVID-19 and then get vaccinated before giving birth are more likely than other moms to pass protective antibodies to their newborns, new research shows. Babies can’t get their own vaccines until they’re 6 months of age. For this study, a team at the University of California, Los Angeles, studied both vaccinated and unvaccinated moms. At birth, 78% of their babies had detectable antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. That included all of the babies born to vaccinated moms and about three out of four whose mothers were unvaccinated.
  • COVID-19 BoostersThe New York Times – September 28, 2022There is still a lot of confusion about booster shots — including about the new version, known as a bivalent booster. The biggest benefit is a reduction in severe illness among vulnerable people, as Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Brown University, told me. For that reason, anybody over 50 who has not yet received a booster shot in 2022 should consider getting one as soon as possible. The new boosters, like the earlier versions, are likely to be extremely effective at preventing severe illness, scientists say. For people who are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19, either because of age or a health condition, the best advice has not changed: Stay up-to-date on your COVID-19 boosters.
  • FDA authorization for updated COVID-19 boosters could be expanded to younger ages as soon as early OctoberCNN – September 28, 2022US Food and Drug Administration authorization for updated COVID-19 boosters could be expanded to younger age groups as soon as early October, a source close to planning discussions tells CNN. Moderna and Pfizer both sought FDA emergency use authorization for their updated COVID-19 boosters for younger people in recent days. Moderna is seeking authorization for children as young as 6 years and Pfizer for children ages 5 through 11.
  • New guidance released on diagnosing, treating long COVID-19 symptomsABC News – September 28, 2022Citing concerns about the lingering and sometimes debilitating long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the body — and observed inequities amongst minority patients suffering disproportionately from the virus — medical experts on “long COVID-19” issued the first guidance of its kind to diagnose and treat the mysterious illness. The guidance is indicative of widespread concern among medical experts that even months after resolving the initial infection, COVID-19 is still causing serious health concerns amongst many Americans. A priority in addressing long COVID-19 is to “recognize, assess and treat” the symptoms across a wide range of medical disciplines, including cardiovascular and pulmonary to neurologic, cognitive and gastrointestinal care, experts said.
  • Pfizer or Moderna: Which new omicron-specific COVID-19 booster should you get?CNBC – September 27, 2022Americans have two options for a new omicron-specific COVID-19 booster shot: Pfizer or Moderna. Which one should you get? The short answer: It mostly depends on what you’re eligible for. Pfizer’s booster is cleared for anyone 12 and older, while Moderna’s booster is for people 18 and older. To get either one, you’ll need to be at least two months removed from completing a primary vaccine series or receiving any other COVID-19 vaccine. Beyond those eligibility guidelines, the new boosters aren’t that different from each other. Both vaccines are bivalent, meaning they target omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants alongside the original COVID-19 strain.
  • Pfizer, BioNTech seek FDA clearance for updated COVID-19 booster in childrenBioPharma Dive – September 26, 2022Pfizer and BioNTech have asked the Food and Drug Administration to clear their two-pronged, or “bivalent,” vaccine as a booster shot for children between the ages of 5 and 11. The FDA authorized updated vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna in August, aiming to have them available ahead of an anticipated surge of COVID-19 cases in the winter. Both shots have components that target the ancestral strain of COVID-19, as well as widely circulating sub-strains of the omicron variant.
  • Five things about COVID-19 we still don’t understand at our perilThe Washington Post – September 26, 2022The virus has kept many of its secrets, from how it mutates so rapidly to why it kills some while leaving others largely unscathed — mysteries that if solved might arm the world’s scientists with new strategies to curb its spread and guard against the next pandemic. Here are some of the most pressing questions they are trying to answer: Where did the virus come from, and why has it been so successful? How is the virus evolving, and will there be new variants? Can we develop a COVID-19 vaccine that will protect against future variants? Why do some people develop long COVID-19? Why does COVID-19 severity differ by age and from one person to another?

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].