Early in the pandemic, asthma was considered one of the major risk factors for COVID-19. But as more data came in, it seemed to be less and less of an issue, especially compared to obesity, diabetes, and age. A new study from Duke University added weight to the decision that asthma in children did not increase the risk of infection. For that and more stories, keep reading.
Children with asthma are not at higher risk for COVID-19
A study published in Pediatrics found that children and adolescents diagnosed with asthma do not have a higher risk of COVID-19 infection than children without asthma. The study was conducted by Duke University investigators and analyzed the electronic health records of 46,900 children ages five to 17 in North Carolina. Of those, 6,324 had asthma. The study covered a time period from March 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021, which included the Delta Rise but not the Omicron Rise.
“Despite the continued general precautions regarding asthma and COVID-19, we found no evidence that asthma predisposes children to SARS-CoV-2 infection or severe COVID-19 disease,” the researchers wrote. “Importantly, we identified significant differences in SARS-CoV-2 testing based on sociodemographic factors that highlight the need for improved access to SARS-CoV-2 testing and care among certain vulnerable pediatric populations.”
Despite access, 5 to 11-year-olds are slow to get the COVID-19 vaccine
The introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine in children aged five to 11 years in the United States has kept low during the first 11 weeks of eligibility, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine was approved for that age group on October 29, 2021. Per. January 18, 2022, 13.3 million doses had been given to that age group.
“At 11 weeks, despite the fact that 54.0% of vaccine providers have high SVI [social vulnerability index] areas, the series implementation rate was approx. 33.0% lower in high- than in low-SVI areas, underlining the importance of strengthening strategies (eg education, culturally and linguistically relevant dissemination and commitment from trusted providers) to improve vaccination coverage in these communities , ”Wrote the agency’s authors.
Pfizer’s antiviral Paxlovid has regulatory and production issues
A recent Bloomberg report, citing data from Airfinity Ltd., suggests that Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral pill is unlikely to be widely available for about another year. They mention regulation and production problems. Medicines Patent Pool, supported by the UN, has a licensing agreement with Pfizer to designate generic drug manufacturers to produce the pill, but the first allocation of supplies is not expected to reach companies until December 2022.
Larger amounts of the drug are not likely to hit the market until May 2023. Paxlovid is a combination of the protease inhibitor nirmatrelvir and an older antiviral drug, ritonavir. The report notes that Paxlovid requires 38 different ingredients and reagents, and although there is no shortage of raw materials, the supply chain is complicated.
Clinical team raised on Immunomes COVID-19 antibody cocktail
USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have the vow its clinical team Immunome, Inc.‘s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for IMM-BCP-01, an antibody cocktail for the treatment of COVID-19. The FDA had placed the detention following a request for more information on the preparation and administration of the drug and the clinical sites. Now that the company has provided the requested data, the detention has been lifted. IMM-BCP-01 consists of three antibodies directed against non-overlapping segments of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein.
China’s symptomatic COVID-19 rate is highest in two years
Mainland China reported 1,807 new local symptomatic COVID-19 cases on March 12th. This was three times the number the day before, at 476, according to China’s National Health Commission. The country has generally had significantly fewer cases than other countries, probably related to its rigorous lockdown efforts and what it calls its ambitions for “dynamic clearance”. A Jilin province health official, who shows the highest rates, said the increase “showed that some local areas facing a rapid increase in the epidemic lacked the capacity to expand medical resources, resulting in limited hospitalization of infections. to centralized facilities within a short time. ”
Mixed results for Korea’s CMOs for COVID-19 vaccines
The COVID-19 pandemic and the manufacture of the vaccines have been one blessing for many contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) that do the actual manufacturing for biopharmaceutical companies. However, an analysis of CMOs in South Korea showed that it has been somewhat mixed. Subsidiaries of large conglomerates, including Samsung Biologics and SK Bioscience, are doing well in producing the vaccines, but independent companies such as GC and Huons Global have largely given up their COVID-19 vaccine CMO business.
For example, GC stated that it had stopped discussions with Johnson & Johnson for J & J’s vaccine in December 2021. And just last week, Huons Global suspended its agreement with Russia on the country’s Sputnik V vaccine due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s economic sanctions against Korea.
“The Russian government declared Korea an ‘unfriendly’ nation last Monday and is expected to impose various restrictions on Korea, including diplomatic,” Huons Global said. “Even before that, concerns had arisen about our business continuity due to international sanctions against Russia.”