Top COVID-19 Research: Timely, Curated and Vetted by Experts

From the Curator-in-Chief's Desk—May 27, 2022

Lynn Enquist
Lynn Enquist, Ph.D., Curator-in-Chief
Vaccination Reduces Long COVID Risk

More than half a billion COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide. While many recover within a few weeks, some individuals have lingering symptoms for weeks to months. The World Health Organization classified these effects as post-COVID-19 condition, also known as "long COVID." Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction and multi-organ impairment. Published this week in Nature Medicine, Al-Aly, Z., et al. found vaccination reduced the risk of post-COVID-19 symptoms. The authors analyzed data from over 13 million people, noting those with breakthrough infections after vaccination reported ~15% lower rates of lingering symptoms compared to infected individuals who were not previously vaccinated. Published in The BMJ, Ayoubkhani, D., et al. also observed a decrease of post-COVID-19 symptoms in individuals vaccinated after infection. Together, these data suggest vaccines may reduce the chance of long COVID. However, how vaccines help lessen these symptoms and how long these symptoms may last are unknown.

Novel Plant-based Vaccine Protects Against COVID-19

Almost 12 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered, but barriers to vaccine access have resulted in inequitable distribution. New vaccines that are easy to produce, distribute and store are critical to increasing global vaccinations. In this week’s curator commentary on ASM Connect, Dr. Catherine Pachuk, Chief Science Officer, Marizyme, Inc., highlighted a new type of vaccine described in The New England Journal of Medicine article "Efficacy and Safety of a Recombinant Plant-Based Adjuvanted Covid-19 Vaccine." The plant-based vaccine COVIFENZ® contains coronavirus-like particles with the spike protein from the original SARS-CoV-2 strain produced entirely in plants combined with a historically safe adjuvant. Based on a phase 3 trial of over 24,000 individuals, Hager, K., et al. reported the efficacy of 2 doses of COVIFENZ® to be 69.5% against preventing symptomatic infection and 78.8% against preventing moderate to severe COVID-19. This vaccine is also stable at refrigerator temperatures for at least 6 months, which Pachuk noted makes this vaccine and vaccine-type a promising option for resource-limited countries.

Vaccines for Children Under 5 are Highly Effective

Vaccines for children under 5 years old may soon be available. This week, Pfizer & BioNTech announced their 3-dose mRNA vaccine for children under 5 was 80% effective at preventing symptomatic infection when the Omicron variant was dominate. The companies plan to submit these data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization. Additionally, Jara, A., et al. estimated in Nature Medicine that 2 doses of the inactivated CoronaVac vaccine provided high protection against hospitalization (64%) and ICU admission (69%) for children ages 3 to 5. For older children 6 to 11, Creech, C. et al. reported 2 doses of the Moderna mRNA vaccine were 88% effective at preventing symptomatic infection when Delta was the predominate variant in The New England Journal of Medicine. Increasing vaccinations worldwide, including for children and the Global South, will be necessary as we work to contain this pandemic.

Lynn Enquist, Ph.D.
COVID-19 Research Registry Curator-in-Chief

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BASIC VIROLOGY

How is the genome of SARS-CoV-2 evolving? What mechanism does the coronavirus use to target human cells? How does the immune system react to SARS-CoV-2?

 

CLINICAL DIAGNOSTICS

Will serology provide the ultimate answer? Does the existence of the antibody equal protection due to antibody neutralization? How often should patients be tested?

TREATMENT

What are the results of the newest treatment? What drugs are in the pipeline? What are the latest outcomes from clinical trials?
 

 

PREVENTION

What are the different kinds of vaccines? Do coronaviruses evolve to escape vaccines? What have we learned from work with Ebola virus and SARS vaccines development?

EPIDEMIOLOGY

How does a pandemic start? How long will this pandemic last: can data models give us some hints? COVID-19 affects people differently depending on their age, how does this affect transmission? How does social distancing influence transmission rates?

 

GENERAL REVIEWS

Scientifically speaking, what is a coronavirus? What are the similarities and differences in structure and activities of SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2? What is the PK/PD of Remdesivir?

Biweekly Commentary Letter

May 27, 2022

By Catherine J. Pachuk, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Marizyme, Inc., Jupiter, Fla. Pachuk is a curator of the registry.  

"Efficacy and Safety of a Recombinant Plant-Based Adjuvanted Covid-19 Vaccine" by Hager, K. et al., published in The New England Journal of Medicine on May 4, 2022. 
  View the Commentary on ASM Connect View Past Commentaries

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