COVID-19 News: Pfizer to Request EUA in Young Kids and More

Coronavirus News

It’s a busy news day for COVID-19-related stories. Read on for more.

Pfizer to Request EUA for COVID-19 for Kids Age 5-11 by Fall

Alejandra Gurtman, vice president of vaccine clinical research and development for Pfizer recently said that the company expects to request emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 by September or October. It has been granted EUA for people 12 years and older.

“With this data, we felt very comfortable to move down in age,” Gurtman said, discussing recent clinical trials in children ages six months to 11 years.

CureVac’s COVID-19 Vaccine Demonstrates 48% Efficacy

Germany-based CureVac reported final data for its COVID-19 vaccine, demonstrating 48% efficacy. It was a bit better at preventing symptomatic disease, at 53%, when the trial excluded people 61 years of age and older. In a June 16 readout, the figure was 47% overall. The company notes that the rise of more infectious variants has proven to be a headwind. The study involved approximately 40,000 adults in Europe and Latin America.

J&J Vaccine Likely Effective Against Delta Variant

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told CNBC that data so far demonstrates that the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 is highly effective against the delta variant, which first appeared in India. He added, “While we are still awaiting direct studies of Johnson & Johnson and the delta variant, we have reasons to be hopeful, because the J&J vaccine has proven to be quite effective against preventing hospitalizations and deaths, with all the variants that we’ve seen to date.”

Michigan to Offer Vaccine-Related Lottery and Scholarships

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to announce a COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes that will provide vaccinated people in Michigan an opportunity to win a combined total of more than $5 million in cash and nine college scholarships worth $55,000 each. It will be called the “MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes,” and will be run with grocery chain Meijer and the Michigan Association of United Ways as an incentive for Michiganders to get vaccinated. 

Eligibility is for any resident 18 years or older who had received at least one dose of a vaccine. For people 12 to 17 years of age, there’s a shot at one of nine Michigan Education Trust (MET) Charitable Tuition Program four-year contracts worth $55,000. As of June 30, 61.8% of Michigan people had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

3rd Dose of AstraZeneca-Oxford Vaccine Boosts Immune Response

A University of Oxford study found that a third shot of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine created a strong immune response. The vaccine is typically dosed twice, usually four to 12 weeks apart. The study, which has yet to be peer reviewed, was in 90 trial participants in Britain who were the earliest to receive doses in 2020. In March 2021, they received a third dose, about 30 weeks after their second. The third dose increased levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 higher than seen a month after the second dose.

Delta Variant Most Common in U.S. Now

Genomics company Helix reported that its computer models show the delta variant now makes up about 40% of new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. The models are based on 27,717 virus samples from 687 countries across the U.S. The gamma variant (Brazil) makes up about 15%. They have also seen occasional cases of what they’re calling an “offspring” variant of delta called delta-plus, but they “aren’t seeing any evidence suggesting that these are driving the growth of delta around the country yet,” said William Lee, vice president of science at Helix.

Men Do Worse with COVID-19 than Women

A study that tracked COVID-19 cases in New York City found that men were more likely to have severe outcomes from COVID-19 regardless of any comorbidities. They were sicker when first diagnosed and required intensive care treatment more often than women, and had higher death rates than women. In women, the likelihood of severe disease appeared to be related to their health status. Other studies have also suggested that long-haulers syndrome is more common in women than in men.

Vaccinated People Who Catch COVID-19 Have Less Virus

study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who received mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna who became infected carried less virus and had shorter disease than unvaccinated people. They found that in the 16 people in the study who had breakthrough infections, they had on average 40% less virus in their nose compared to the 155 unvaccinated people who became ill. The vaccinated people also had a 66% lower risk of detectable virus for more than one week, with about two days less time spent in bed.

HDT Bio’s IND for COVID-19 RNA Vaccine Gets Go-Ahead for Trial

Seattle-based HDT Bio received the greenlight from the U.S. U.S. FDA to proceed with a U.S.-based Phase I trial of its HDT-301 COVID-19 RNA vaccine. The vaccine is also designed to protect against variants. It will start enrolling 60 healthy volunteers this month and study the safety of two injections 28 days apart at three different dose levels. It will be open to unvaccinated and previously vaccinated people 18 to 65 years of age.

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