COVID-19 Update | September 8, 2023

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | September 8, 2023

September 8, 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 8, 2023. Notable advancements include:

  • A team of researchers at Yale University has developed an innovative patient triage platform powered by artificial intelligence that can help predict patient disease severity and length of hospitalization during a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The latest COVID-19 booster is expected to be available in the United States as early as September 13, 2023 and is expected to protect against severe disease and death from current variants.
  • According to new studies Moderna’s new COVID-19 vaccine protects against the currently circulating BA.2.86 variant.

Recent News

  • COVID-19 booster shots expected as early as next week
    ABC News – September 7, 2023
    The upcoming COVID-19 booster is expected to be available in the United States as early as next week — potentially as soon as Sept. 13 — and is expected to protect against severe disease and death from currently circulating variants. First, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize or approve the shots, which they have signaled they are likely to do within the next seven days. Next, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent panel of advisors is set to meet on Sept. 12 to provide a recommendation on who will be eligible for the shots. The CDC director is expected to sign off, with shots to be available soon after.
  • Do COVID-19 tests still work after they expire? Here’s how to tell.
    CBS News – September 7, 2023
    With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in the U.S., Americans are reviving a familiar precautionary measure: Screening for the virus using rapid at-home tests. Many people still have kits the government formerly provided to all households for free, especially as some schools and businesses again require tests. Yet different COVID-19 tests bear expiration dates on their packaging that have long since passed, raising questions about whether they’re still effective.
  • Moderna Says Its New COVID-19 Vaccine Protects Against the BA.2.86 Variant
    Time – September 6, 2023
    Heading into the fall and winter, health officials and the public alike are better equipped to combat COVID-19 than at any point since the pandemic began in 2019, thanks mainly to a stronger wall of immunity in the population built up with vaccines and natural infections. But questions remain about how protected the public will be in coming months, as cases of new variants inch upward. One in particular, BA.2.86, is raising alarms since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that it “may be more capable of causing infection in people who have previously had COVID-19 or who have received COVID-19 vaccines.”
  • US lab tests suggest new COVID-19 variant BA.2.86 may be less contagious and less immune-evasive than feared
    CNN Health – September 4, 2023
    When you go to get your newly updated COVID-19 booster this fall, you might       to choose the arm the vaccine goes in carefully. The immune response may be stronger if your booster goes in the same arm as your last COVID-19 shot, according to a study published in the journal eBioMedicine. “The question seems so banal, so trivial that nobody before has thought to ask it,” study coauthor Martina Sester, a biologist and head of the department of the Institute of Infection Medicine at Saarland University Hospital in Germany, said in a news release.
  • California COVID-19 cases are increasing, again. Here’s the latest on boosters and more
    CalMatters – September 1, 2023
    Another COVID-19 wave is hitting California as the summer ends and kids head back to school. It’s a familiar story by now, but one that has become perhaps more confusing with time because of changing public health recommendations, new vaccine boosters and our evolving understanding of the virus. There’s no reason to panic, State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said, with population immunity at high levels. “Over the course of the last three-and-a-half years, we’re fairly sure everybody’s been exposed or vaccinated at least once, or exposed and infected whether they knew it or not,” Pan said. “There’s thankfully a lot more immunity overall.”
  • What COVID-19 precautions should you be taking now? A doctor explains
    CNN Health – September 1, 2023
    As families prepare to gather for Labor Day and children head back to schools, coronavirus cases are once again on the rise. COVID-19 hospital admissions are up more than 18% in the most recent week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some experts are encouraging a return to masking, especially for older adults and individuals most vulnerable to severe disease. With concerns that COVID-19 could spread as people gather, this has led to many questions about disease prevention: What virus prevention measures should those planning Labor Day events consider? As kids return to the classroom, should they mask? And how should families prepare for the possible confluence of the coronavirus, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (better known as RSV) that may occur this fall?
  • Fourth COVID-19 booster supercharges antibody defense in older adults, study says
    News Medical & Life Sciences – August 31, 2023
    Few studies have assessed the antibody response after the fourth COVID-19 mRNA vaccination in adults. The existing studies indicated that compared to the first COVID-19 booster vaccination, the second booster (fourth COVID-19 vaccine) dose resulted in a minor increase of the neutralizing antibody (nAb) and the anti-RBD (Receptor Binding Domain) IgG antibody levels. Although this finding was based on a study population devoid of older adults, the poor antibody response raised questions about the utility of COVID-19 booster vaccination beyond the first. Contradicting the aforementioned implications, several randomized clinical trials and retrospective studies revealed the benefits of a second COVID-19 booster, particularly for preventive hospitalization in the elderly population. However, none of these studies estimated specific IgG antibody or nAb levels in older populations.
  • AI-powered patient triage platform predicts COVID-19 severity and length of hospitalization
    News Medical & Life Sciences – August 29, 2023
    A team of researchers from Yale University and other institutions globally has developed an innovative patient triage platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that the researchers say is capable of predicting patient disease severity and length of hospitalization during a viral outbreak. The platform, which leverages machine learning and metabolomics data, is intended to improve patient management and help health care providers allocate resources more efficiently during severe viral outbreaks that can quickly overwhelm local health care systems. Metabolomics is the study of small molecules related to cell metabolism.
  • UNC Researchers Working to Improve Vaccines and Treatments for COVID-19
    UNC Healthcare – August 25, 2023
    UNC School of Medicine researchers continue to explore how best to protect our patients and communities against COVID-19. Recent work includes findings that show that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination produces a robust immune response in the nasal cavity as well as results that show Metformin substantially decreasing the risk of developing long COVID-19 after infection from SARS-CoV-2. John Buse, MD, PhD, co-authored a study showing that the common diabetes drug metformin substantially decreased the risk of developing long COVID-19 after infection from SARS-CoV-2.

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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].