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

From the Curator-in-Chief's Desk—June 17, 2022

Lynn Enquist
Lynn Enquist, Ph.D., Curator-in-Chief
COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids Under 5 Authorized

Children under the age of 5 in the U.S. may soon be able to join the more than 65% of the world’s population that is vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer & BioNTech and Moderna COVID vaccines for children 6 months to 5 years old. Both Pfizer & BioNTech’s 3-dose and Moderna’s 2-dose regimes were found to be safe and effective against severe COVID-19. As reported cases in the U.S. plateau, a vaccine for vulnerable populations like children is especially necessary. Yuan, Y., et al. also observed a ~50% higher rate in hospitalizations for disability-eligible Medicare beneficiaries compared to age-eligible beneficiaries in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The authors noted the importance of increasing vaccine distribution and treatment access to high-risk groups, which is needed both in the U.S. and globally.

BA.4 and BA.5 can Escape Omicron-Induced Immunity

Highly transmissible variants foster viral spread. Numerous new variants have been identified because of increased genomic sequencing. Most recently, the Omicron sublineages BA.4 and BA.5 emerged. Dr. Vito Martella, University Aldo Moro of Bari, described the new sublineages in this week’s curator commentary on ASM Connect. In their preprint "Continued Emergence and Evolution of Omicron in South Africa: New BA.4 and BA.5 lineages," Tegally, H., et al. identified and monitored the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages in South Africa in early 2022. By April 2022, the authors found more than 50% of all sequenced cases belonged to these sublineages, estimating slight growth advantages for BA.4 and BA.5 over Omicron BA.2. In regards to BA.4 and BA.5’s impact on immunity, Cao, Y., et al. found BA.4 and BA.5 escaped neutralization from antibodies induced by vaccination or previous infection with the Omicron BA.1 lineage in their Nature article published this week.

Global Sequencing to Inform Pandemic Response

Martella highlighted that consistent and global sequencing along with research to characterize variants’ virology and immune escape abilities will be "pivotal to re-shape our response to COVID-19 pandemic" moving forward. In May, the Registry hosted a special virtual panel on the scientific community’s response to emerging variants. Drs. Esther Babady, Florian Krammer and Penny Moore all spoke about building international collaborations that connect genomic sequencing and basic science to diagnostics and therapeutics used in clinics and in the field. Understanding the genomic landscape as well as the immunological landscape—such as the impact of past treatment, infection and vaccination on future immunity—will be critical to mitigating the pandemic. If you were unable to attend, you can find a recording on our archive page, where you can also watch all our past COVID-19 Research Registry Virtual Clubs sessions.

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


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?



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


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



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?


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?



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

July 1, 2022

By Yi-Wei Tang, M.D., Ph.D., F(AAM), FIDSA, chief medical officer, Danaher Diagnostic Platform and Cepheid (China), Shanghai. Tang is a curator of the registry. 

"A Single-Round Infection Fluorescent SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Test for COVID-19 Serological Testing at a Biosafety Level-2 Laboratory" by Zou, J. et al., published in Viruses on June 2, 2022.
  View the Commentary on ASM Connect View Past Commentaries

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