COVID-19 News: 100% Efficacy for Kids 12-17, Misconception of COVID-19 and Hearing Loss and More

CV update_May 25_2021

News information is not all-inclusive and updates are published once a week on Tuesdays.

Here's a look at some of the top COVID-19 news over the past week. 

Moderna Vaccine Safe and Effective for Kids 12-17

Moderna has indicated their COVID-19 vaccine is safe and suggested it is 100% effective in kids, aged 12-17. The figure could change as more data is collected and analyzed. Moderna said in early June it plans to submit results to the FDA and ask for authorization to use in adolescents.

Antiviral Activity of SNG001

U.K.-based Synairgen plc announced results from in vitro studies showing the antiviral activity of SNG001 against two SARS-CoV-2 variants. SNG001 is an inhaled formulation of interferon beta in development as a broad-spectrum antiviral. The company noted that the antibody could be useful against variants of concern. Synairgen has previously shown the antiviral activity of SNG001 in cell-based assays against key respiratory viruses, including rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of the common cold, RSV and influenza, including pandemic H1N1 2009 and H5N1 ‘bird flu’ strains and SARS-CoV-2. 

COVID-19 Booster Shots

An open question is whether booster shots against COVID-19 will be necessary. The predominant vaccines in the Western world are ModernaPfizer-BioNTechAstraZeneca-Oxford, and Johnson & Johnson. All but the J&J vaccines require two shots, 21 to 28 days apart. The J&J vaccine requires only a single dose. 

The director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Peter Marks, noted that it is possible booster shots would be necessary for fully vaccinated individuals within a year even though the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are highly effective at COVID-19 prevention. Also, they seem to protect against the variants identified so far in the U.S. Read for more information.

Centivax Drives Next-Generation COVID-19 Antibody into the Clinic

Centivax is developing a monoclonal antibody, among other therapeutics, that could play a role in stemming widespread COVID-19 infections. From previous antibody therapies that have been authorized to treat COVID-19, including Eli Lilly’s and AbCellera’s bamlanivimab, Centivax’s CEO, Jake Glanville said data shows they can have a significant impact in treating patients. Glanville said his company’s experimental broadly neutralizing antibody is easy to administer, especially when many infusion centers are already functioning at peak capacity administering other treatments. “And more importantly it’s 99.5% effective against all strains in the USA including the all the scary new strains,” Glanville said.

House Subcommittee Interrogates Emergent Execs

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis questioned executives from Emergent BioSolutions as part of a congressional probe.  In late March, the company’s Baltimore manufacturing site accidentally switched an ingredient for Johnson & Johnson Family’s COVID-19 vaccine, resulting in spoiling about 15 million batches. Congress is also investigating executives over their stock deals and possible conflicts of interest over a former consultant, Robert Kadlec, who, as the Trump Administration’s head of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), threw hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts to the company.

Explaining Rare Immune Response in Children with COVID-19

Researchers at Yale University published new research in the journal Immunity describing what is happening in children with MIS-C. They analyzed blood samples from children with MIS-C, adults with severe COVID-19, and healthy children and adults. In the children with MIS-C, they identified immune system biomarkers, specifically high levels of alarmins. Click here for more information.

COVID-19 Vaccines and Hearing Loss

Some patients reported a sudden hearing loss after receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine investigated the cases and published their results in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Their preliminary conclusions are that the messenger RNA vaccines (mRNA) by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna did not cause the hearing loss. Click here for more information.

New Report Says Wuhan Researchers Possibly Ill With COVID-19

A previously undisclosed intelligence report by the U.S. State Department reports that three scientists at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology received hospital care in November 2019 for influenza-like symptoms. The findings were on a State Department fact sheet that said they went to the hospital “with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness. Click here for more information.

Scientists Work to Develop Anti-COVID-19 Pill for Seasonal Variants

Antiviral pills against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the novel coronavirus responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), are showing promise in new clinical trials. Three new antiviral agents may offer a solution to monoclonal antibody therapies. These three experimental antivirals have been designed to be given in the early stages of developing COVID-19 symptoms and prior to hospitalization. Each pill contains molecules to interfere with coronavirus replication. Pfizer, the maker of one of the first authorized COVID-19 vaccines, has a potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 pill currently in early-stage trials. Click here for more information.

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