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Hot Topics of the Day are picked by experts to capture the latest information and publications on public health genomics and precision health for various diseases and health topics. Sources include published scientific literature, reviews, blogs and popular press articles.

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706 hot topic(s) found with the query "Vaccines"

Cancer mRNA vaccines: clinical advances and future opportunities
(Posted: May 20, 2024 10AM)

From the abstract: "Thus far, no mRNA-based cancer vaccines have received regulatory approval, although several phase I–II trials have yielded promising results, including in historically poorly immunogenic tumours. Furthermore, many early phase trials testing a wide range of vaccine designs are currently ongoing. In this Review, we describe the advantages of cancer mRNA vaccines and advances in clinical trials using both cell-based and nanoparticle-based delivery methods, with discussions of future combinations and iterations that might optimize the activity of these agents. "

High-resolution African HLA resource uncovers HLA-DRB1 expression effects underlying vaccine response
(Posted: May 14, 2024 3PM)

From the abstract: " How human genetic variation contributes to vaccine effectiveness in infants is unclear, and data are limited on these relationships in populations with African ancestries. We undertook genetic analyses of vaccine antibody responses in infants from Uganda (n=1391), Burkina Faso (n=353) and South Africa (n=755), identifying associations between human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and antibody response for five of eight tested antigens spanning pertussis, diphtheria and hepatitis B vaccines. In addition, through HLA typing 1,702 individuals from 11 populations of African ancestry derived predominantly from the 1000 Genomes Project, we constructed an imputation resource, fine-mapping class II HLA-DR and DQ associations explaining up to 10% of antibody response variance in our infant cohorts. "

Adverse Events After XBB.1.5-Containing COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines.
Niklas Worm Andersson et al. JAMA 2024 2 (Posted: Feb 27, 2024 9AM)

From the article: "The monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5–containing COVID-19 mRNA vaccines were authorized in the US and Europe for use in autumn and winter 2023-2024.In Denmark, the XBB.1.5-containing vaccines were recommended as a fifth COVID-19 vaccine dose to individuals aged 65 years and older beginning October 1, 2023. However, data to support safety evaluations are lacking. We investigated the association between the XBB.1.5-containing vaccine administered as a fifth COVID-19 vaccine dose and the risk of 28 adverse events. In this nationwide cohort of more than 1 million adults aged 65 years and older, no increased risk of 28 adverse events was observed following vaccination with a monovalent XBB.1.5-containing vaccine. "

Effectiveness of Bivalent mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines in Preventing SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children and Adolescents Aged 5 to 17 Years
LR Feldstein et al, JAMA, February 6, 2024 (Posted: Feb 06, 2024 1PM)

From the abstract: " What is the effectiveness of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines among children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 years? In this prospective cohort study including 2959 participants aged 5 to 17 years, vaccine effectiveness against laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection was 54.0% and vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 was 49.4%. During a period when the Omicron BA.4/5 sublineages were the predominant circulating variants, children and adolescents received protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptomatic COVID-19 from the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines compared with those who were unvaccinated or received only the monovalent COVID-19 vaccine."

Vaccines reduce the risk of long COVID in children
S Hall, Nature, December 20, 2023 (Posted: Dec 20, 2023 9AM)

From the article: " Vaccinated children are less likely than unvaccinated children to develop long COVID, the myriad of symptoms that can last for months to years following a SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to a forthcoming US study. “This is really important data,” says Jessica Snowden, a paediatric infectious-disease specialist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. This will demonstrate to families how important it is that we protect our kids, not just from acute COVID, but from the longer-term impacts of COVID as well.”

Self-copying RNA vaccine wins first full approval: what’s next?
E Dolgin, Nature News, December 6, 2023 (Posted: Dec 07, 2023 8AM)

From the article: " Conventional mRNA-based COVID-19 shots consist mainly of the genetic instructions for a viral protein that are surrounded by regulatory sequences. A cell’s machinery produces the protein for as long as these instructions persist, and that protein — known as an antigen — stimulates an immune response. By contrast, saRNA jabs go a step further by integrating the genes needed for the replication and synthesis of the antigen-encoding RNA, effectively establishing a biological printing press for fabricating the vaccine inside cells "

mRNA COVID vaccines saved lives and won a Nobel - what's next for the technology?
Elie Dolgin et al. Nature 2023 10 (Posted: Oct 05, 2023 9AM)

From the paper: "In just three short years, mRNA vaccines have saved millions of lives, achieved household recognition and, as of this week, become the subject of a Nobel Prize. Yet the field shows no signs of slowing down. Vaccines based on mRNA rose to fame not only for their safety and efficacy, but also for the speed with which they were developed and rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic. "

Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available in US, Recommended for Everyone Older Than 6 Months
R Rubin, JAMA, September 18, 2023 (Posted: Sep 18, 2023 11AM)

From the article: "The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on September 12 recommended that everyone 6 months or older get a new COVID-19 monovalent vaccine targeting the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5. The CDC’s move came the day after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Moderna’s and Pfizer-BioNTech’s updated COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for people 12 years or older and authorized the shots for emergency use in children 6 months through 11 years of age." "

CDC Recommends Updated COVID-19 Vaccine for Fall/Winter Virus Season
CDC, September 12, 2023 (Posted: Sep 13, 2023 6AM)

CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the potentially serious outcomes of COVID-19 illness this fall and winter. Updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will be available later this week. Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID, which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended duration.? If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 2 months, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself this fall and winter.

CDC Assesses Risk From BA.2.86, Highly Mutated COVID-19 Variant
E Harris, JAMA, August 30, 2023 (Posted: Aug 30, 2023 1PM)

From the paper: "Based on currently available data, updated COVID-19 vaccines targeting the XBB.1.5 variant are expected to be effective against BA.2.86—a highly mutated new SARS-CoV-2 variant—for reducing severe disease and hospitalization, according to an August 23 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) risk assessment."

Risk Assessment Summary for SARS CoV-2 Sublineage BA.2.86
CDC, August 23, 2023 Brand (Posted: Aug 23, 2023 0PM)

Based on what CDC knows now, existing tests used to detect and medications used to treat COVID-19 appear to be effective with this variant. BA.2.86 may be more capable of causing infection in people who have previously had COVID-19 or who have received COVID-19 vaccines. Scientists are evaluating the effectiveness of the forthcoming, updated COVID-19 vaccine. CDC’s current assessment is that this updated vaccine will be effective at reducing severe disease and hospitalization. At this point, there is no evidence that this variant is causing more severe illness. That assessment may change as additional scientific data are developed. CDC will share more as we know more.

What to Know About EG.5, the Latest SARS-CoV-2 “Variant of Interest”
J Abbasi, JAMA, August 18, 2023 (Posted: Aug 18, 2023 5PM)

The Omicron descendant EG.5 is the latest to be labeled a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO), joining the current ranks of XBB.1.16 and XBB.1.5. The new designation, made as part of an August 9 initial risk evaluation of the variant, reflects its “notable rise” in global prevalence during recent weeks. The report comes as the US is experiencing an increase in hospitalizations and deaths and as anticipation mounts for updated vaccines, expected to become available this fall. The EG.5 variant could contribute to a surge in cases, the report noted, although there’s no evidence to date that it causes more severe disease.

New COVID jabs are coming — who should get them? Countries rolling out updated vaccines weigh up whether to restrict them to high-risk individuals.
M Koslov, Nature, June 29, 2023 (Posted: Jul 03, 2023 8AM)

Confronted once again with waning immunity against SARS-CoV-2, health officials around the world are planning to roll out booster jabs in the next few months. But these booster campaigns might not have the come-one, come-all approach of previous years. Now that the COVID-19 global emergency is over and infections have dwindled, officials have been rethinking who should receive the jab and when.

Sharing Pathogen Genomic Sequence Data - Toward Effective Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response.
Sam Halabi et al. N Engl J Med 2023 6 (26) 2401-2404 (Posted: Jun 29, 2023 7AM)

Genomic sequence data and associated analysis are essential to tracking the adaptation, evolution, and mutation of pathogens — and therefore essential to public health preparedness, prevention, and response. They are also critical to the research and development process that leads to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

Precision medicine meets cancer vaccines.
et al. Nat Med 2023 6 (Posted: Jun 22, 2023 7AM)

Vaccines for treating cancer have been in development for decades, but their clinical efficacy has been elusive. Thus far, only one therapeutic vaccine against cancer has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of prostate cancer, extending patient survival by only 4 months. Now, two independent efforts using mRNA vaccines tailor-made to target each patient’s tumor have reported initial success in melanoma and pancreatic cancer and are energizing the field of anti-cancer vaccines.

BA.1 Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine Use and Stroke in England.
Nick Andrews et al. JAMA 2023 6 (Posted: Jun 19, 2023 1PM)

This analysis showed no evidence of an increased risk of stroke in the 21 days immediately after vaccination with either of the 2 mRNA COVID-19 bivalent BA.1 vaccines in England, with similar results for ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke and for the subset aged 65 years and older given influenza vaccine on the same day as the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine. For ischemic stroke, the upper bounds of CIs for the RI were all below the point estimate of a relative risk of 1.47.

Waning cellular immune responses and predictive factors in maintaining cellular immunity against SARS-CoV-2 six months after BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination.
Takashi Ishii et al. Sci Rep 2023 6 (1) 9607 (Posted: Jun 16, 2023 6AM)

We analyzed cellular immune responses elicited by BNT162b2 mRNA vaccines in 321 health care workers using whole blood interferon-gamma (IFN-?) release assays. IFN-?, induced by CD4 + and CD8 + T cells stimulated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike epitopes (Ag2), levels were highest at 3 weeks after the second vaccination (6 W) and decreased by 37.4% at 3 months (4 M) and 60.0% at 6 months (7 M), the decline of which seemed slower than that of anti-spike antibody levels.

'Remarkable' AI tool designs mRNA vaccines that are more potent and stable.
Elie Dolgin et al. Nature 2023 5 (Posted: May 03, 2023 6AM)

The software borrows techniques from computational linguistics to design mRNA sequences with more-intricate shapes and structures than those used in current vaccines. This enables the genetic material to persist for longer than usual. The more stable the mRNA that’s delivered to a person’s cells, the more antigens are produced by the protein-making machinery in that person’s body. This, in turn, leads to a rise in protective antibodies, theoretically leaving immunized individuals better equipped to fend off infectious diseases.

CDC simplifies COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, allows older adults and immunocompromised adults to get second dose of the updated vaccine
CDC, April 19, 2023 Brand (Posted: Apr 21, 2023 6AM)

CDC’s new recommendations allow an additional updated (bivalent) vaccine dose for adults ages 65 years and older and additional doses for people who are immunocompromised. This allows more flexibility for healthcare providers to administer additional doses to immunocompromised patients as needed. Monovalent (original) mRNA COVID-19 vaccines will no longer be recommended for use in the United States. CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 years and older receive an updated (bivalent) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they previously completed their (monovalent) primary series.

Durability of Bivalent Boosters against Omicron Subvariants.
Dan-Yu Lin et al. N Engl J Med 2023 4 (Posted: Apr 13, 2023 6AM)

The two types of bivalent boosters were associated with an additional reduction in the incidence of omicron infection among participants who had previously been vaccinated or boosted. Although the two bivalent vaccines were designed to target the BA.4–BA.5 subvariants, they were also associated with a lower risk of infection or severe infection with the BQ.1–BQ.1.1 and XBB–XBB.1.5 subvariants. The effectiveness was higher against hospitalization and death than against infection and waned gradually from its peak over time.

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron boosting induces de novo B cell response in humans.
Wafaa B Alsoussi et al. Nature 2023 4 (Posted: Apr 04, 2023 6AM)

It remains unclear, however, whether the additional doses induce germinal centre (GC) reactions where reengaged B cells can further mature and whether variant-derived vaccines can elicit responses to variant-specific epitopes. Here, we show that boosting with either the original monovalent SARS-CoV-2 or bivalent B.1.351/B.1.617.2 (Beta/Delta) mRNA vaccines induces robust spike-specific GC B cell responses in humans. The GC response persisted for at least eight weeks.

Conquering Alzheimer's: a look at the therapies of the future Researchers are looking to drug combinations, vaccines and gene therapy as they forge the next generation of treatments for the condition.
A Abbot, Nature, April 4, 2023 (Posted: Apr 04, 2023 6AM)

Determinants of COVID-19 vaccine fatigue.
Tanja A Stamm et al. Nature medicine 2023 3 (Posted: Mar 28, 2023 6AM)

Our results suggest that vaccination campaigns should be tailored to subgroups based on their vaccination status. Among the unvaccinated, campaign messages conveying community spirit had a positive effect (0.343, confidence interval (CI) 0.019–0.666), whereas offering positive incentives, such as a cash reward (0.722, CI 0.429–1.014) or voucher (0.670, CI 0.373–0.967), was pivotal to the decision-making of those vaccinated once or twice. Among the triple vaccinated, vaccination readiness increased when adapted vaccines were offered (0.279, CI 0.182–0.377), but costs (-0.795, CI -0.935 to -0.654) and medical dissensus (-0.161, CI -0.293 to -0.030) reduced their likelihood to get vaccinated.

An mRNA Influenza Vaccine - Could It Deliver?
Kathleen M Neuzil et al. The New England journal of medicine 2023 3 (12) 1139-1141 (Posted: Mar 23, 2023 6AM)

The application of mRNA technology to influenza vaccines would permit the design of vaccines that incorporate mRNAs matched to multiple influenza strains, a rapid adaptive response to virus evolution, and the manufacture of combination vaccines that include influenza and noninfluenza proteins, which would facilitate delivery to populations.

Neutralization of BQ.1, BQ.1.1, and XBB with RBD-Dimer Vaccines.
Dedong Li et al. The New England journal of medicine 2023 3 (12) 1142-1145 (Posted: Mar 23, 2023 6AM)

The currently circulating omicron subvariants, especially BQ.1, BQ.1.1, and XBB, showed immune escape to the humoral immunity elicited by prototype strain sequence-based vaccines, such as inactivated vaccine and ZF2001. Our study showed that next-generation and updated Covid-19 vaccines are needed for better protection and pandemic control.

Estimation of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Effectiveness and COVID-19 Illness and Severity by Vaccination Status During Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 Sublineage Periods
RL Gelles et al, JAMA Network Open, March 15, 2023 (Posted: Mar 15, 2023 4PM)

What is the estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) associated with first-generation COVID-19 mRNA vaccines against medically attended COVID-19 during Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sublineage predominance? This case-control study included 82?229 emergency department or urgent care encounters and 21?007 hospitalizations for COVID-19–like illness. Among hospitalized patients, estimated 3-dose VE was 68% for those with the third dose 7 to 119 days prior, but was lower by 120 days or longer after vaccination (VE, 36%). These findings suggest that first-generation COVID-19 mRNA vaccines were associated with protection against COVID-19 during the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 sublineage-predominant periods but protection declined over time.

Effectiveness of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine booster doses against Omicron severe outcomes.
Ramandip Grewal et al. Nature communications 2023 3 (1) 1273 (Posted: Mar 08, 2023 6PM)

We included 11,160 cases and 62,880 tests for test-negative controls. Depending on the age group, compared to unvaccinated adults, VE was 91–98% 7–59 days after a third dose, waned to 76–87% after =240 days, was restored to 92–97% 7–59 days after a fourth dose, and waned to 86–89% after =120 days. VE was lower and declined faster during BA.4/BA.5 versus BA.1/BA.2 predominance, particularly after =120 days. Here we show that booster doses of monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines restored strong protection against severe outcomes for at least 3 months after vaccination.

Immunologic Effect of Bivalent mRNA Booster in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis.
Luca Huth et al. The New England journal of medicine 2023 2 (10) 950-952 (Posted: Mar 08, 2023 6PM)

The findings are in accordance with results from clinical studies of bivalent mRNA vaccines in healthy persons that showed a significant rise in anti-spike IgG concentrations. In particular, patients who did not have previous breakthrough infection immunologically benefited from a bivalent mRNA booster: despite having lower anti-spike IgG concentrations before the fifth vaccination, they had a significant increase after the fifth vaccination, such that their concentrations matched those in persons with hybrid immunity due to omicron breakthrough infection.

Predicting the efficacy of variant-modified COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
David S Khoury et al. Nature medicine 2023 3 (Posted: Mar 03, 2023 9AM)

Here we aggregate data on neutralization titers from 14 reports (three published papers, eight preprints, two press releases and notes of one advisory committee meeting) comparing booster vaccination with the current ancestral-based vaccines or variant-modified vaccines. Using these data, we compare the immunogenicity of different vaccination regimens and predict the relative protection of booster vaccines under different scenarios. We predict that boosting with ancestral vaccines can markedly enhance protection against both symptomatic and severe disease from SARS-CoV-2 variant viruses.

Financing covid-19 mRNA vaccines.
Victor Roy et al. BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 2023 3 p413 (Posted: Mar 02, 2023 9AM)

US public investment in development of mRNA covid-19 vaccines: retrospective cohort study.
Hussain S Lalani et al. BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 2023 3 e073747 (Posted: Mar 02, 2023 9AM)

The US government invested at least $31.9bn to develop, produce, and purchase mRNA covid-19 vaccines, including sizeable investments in the three decades before the pandemic through March 2022. These public investments translated into millions of lives saved and were crucial in developing the mRNA vaccine technology that also has the potential to tackle future pandemics and to treat diseases beyond covid-19.

Effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines against Omicron Infection and Severe Events: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Test-Negative Design Studies
S Song et al, MEDRXIV, February 17, 2023 (Posted: Feb 20, 2023 7AM)

One or two booster doses of current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines provide considerable protection against Omicron infection and substantial and sustainable protection against Omicron-induced severe clinical outcomes.

COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage and Demographic Characteristics of Infants and Children Aged 6 Months-4 Years - United States, June 20-December 31, 2022.
Bhavini Patel Murthy et al. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 2023 2 (7) 183-189 (Posted: Feb 17, 2023 6AM)

As of December 31, 2022, coverage with =1 COVID-19 vaccine dose among young children (those aged 6 months–4 years) was 10.1%, and 5.1% had completed the primary series. Coverage among young children varied by jurisdiction, urbanicity, race, and ethnicity. Five months after the COVID-19 vaccines became available to young children, their vaccination coverage is substantially lower than that in older children.

Questions Remain About What SARS-CoV-2 Variants Should Go Into the Annual COVID-19 Vaccines Proposed by the FDA.
Rita Rubin et al. JAMA 2023 2 (Posted: Feb 16, 2023 6AM)

Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic and more than 2 years since vaccines became available, however, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to get down to 1 vaccine dose per year for most people, following an annual review of the circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants du jour to determine the shot’s optimal makeup. Under the FDA’s proposed plan, everyone’s annual vaccine, administered in the fall, would be composed of the same variant or variants, no matter whether it’s their 1st or 5th or 15th dose.

Long-term effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against infections, hospitalisations, and mortality in adults: findings from a rapid living systematic evidence synthesis and meta-analysis up to December, 2022.
Nana Wu et al. The Lancet. Respiratory medicine 2023 2 (Posted: Feb 14, 2023 7AM)

Our analyses indicate that vaccine effectiveness generally decreases over time against SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospitalisations, and mortality. The baseline vaccine effectiveness levels for the omicron variant were notably lower than for other variants. Therefore, other preventive measures (eg, face-mask wearing and physical distancing) might be necessary to manage the pandemic in the long term.

Antibody Response to Omicron BA.4-BA.5 Bivalent Booster.
Qian Wang et al. The New England journal of medicine 2023 1 (Posted: Feb 13, 2023 7AM)

We collected serum samples from participants who had received three doses of either of the original monovalent mRNA vaccines followed by one dose of a bivalent vaccine targeting BA.4–BA.5 (bivalent-booster group), with each booster produced by the two original manufacturers. Boosting with new bivalent mRNA vaccines targeting both the BA.4–BA.5 variant and the D614G strain did not elicit a discernibly superior virus-neutralizing peak antibody response as compared with boosting with the original monovalent vaccines.

Relative effectiveness of BNT162b2, mRNA-1273, and Ad26.COV2.S vaccines and homologous boosting in preventing COVID-19 in adults in the US
H Nguyen et al, MEDRXIV, February 12, 2023 (Posted: Feb 13, 2023 7AM)

A dataset linking primary care electronic medical records with medical claims data was used for this retrospective cohort study of US patients =18 years vaccinated with a primary series between February and October 2021 (Part 1) and a homologous mRNA booster between October 2021 and January 2022 (Part 2). We found that mRNA-1273 was more effective than BNT162b2 or Ad26.COV2.S following primary series during a Delta-dominant period, and than BNT162b2 as a booster during an Omicron-dominant period.

The NIH-led research response to COVID-19.
Francis Collins et al. Science (New York, N.Y.) 2023 2 (6631) 441-444 (Posted: Feb 08, 2023 9AM)

Although the worst days of the pandemic may be behind us, the timeline of the biomedical research community’s response to COVID-19 is still being written. The novel coronavirus and its variants will likely continue to present considerable public health challenges around the globe for years or even decades, requiring continued vigilance and sustained support for development of updated vaccines, tests, and therapies.

Estimation of Vaccine Effectiveness of CoronaVac and BNT162b2 Against Severe Outcomes Over Time Among Patients With SARS-CoV-2 Omicron.
Yuchen Wei et al. JAMA network open 2023 2 (2) e2254777 (Posted: Feb 04, 2023 7AM)

Does vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization and mortality due to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant change over time? In this case-control study with 164?151 participants, the CoronaVac and BNT162b2 vaccines were generally estimated to be effective against severe outcomes due to SARS-CoV-2 Omicron infection, but protection among older individuals was more likely to wane 6 months after the second dose.

The next generation of coronavirus vaccines: a graphical guide
E Callaway, Nature, February 1, 2023 (Posted: Feb 01, 2023 6AM)

Vaccine developers around the world are working on dozens of ‘next-generation’ COVID-19 vaccines: not just updates of the first versions, but ones that use new technologies and platforms. These vaccines are a diverse group, but the overarching aim is to deliver long-lasting protection that is resilient to viral change. Some could protect against broader classes of coronavirus, including ones that have yet to emerge. Others might provide more potent immunity, might do so at lower doses, or might be better at preventing infection or transmission of the virus.

Will a new wave of RSV vaccines stop the dangerous virus?
Liam Drew et al. Nature 2023 1 (7946) 20 (Posted: Feb 01, 2023 6AM)

Moderna’s mRNA-based vaccine stimulates the production of a stabilized version of this protein, whereas the Pfizer and GSK vaccines inject synthetic versions of it directly. In trials, their efficacies have been remarkably similar, although Bont expects differences to emerge in their initial protection they offer and the durability of immunity after they are rolled out on a larger scale.

Should COVID vaccines be yearly? Proposal divides US scientists
M Kozlov, Nature, January 27, 2023 (Posted: Jan 27, 2023 9AM)

Scientists are split about a US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposal to update COVID-19 vaccines once a year, similar to the agency’s approach for annually updating influenza vaccines. At a meeting of the FDA’s vaccine advisory panel on 26 January, some researchers argued that the proposal to offer an updated vaccine every US autumn would help simplify the country’s complex COVID immunization schedule and might boost uptake as a result. But other scientists were less convinced about the timeline — or whether healthy adults should be urged to receive an annual COVID-19 jab at all.

Safety of bivalent omicron-containing mRNA-booster vaccines: a nationwide cohort study
NW Andersson et al, MEDRXIV, January 23, 2023 (Posted: Jan 23, 2023 9AM)

1,740,417 individuals (mean age 67.8 years, standard deviation 10.7) received a bivalent omicron-containing mRNA-booster vaccine as a fourth dose. Fourth dose vaccination with a bivalent omicron-containing booster did not statistically significantly increase the rate of any of the 27 adverse outcomes within 28 days, nor when analyzed according to age, sex, vaccine type, or using alternative analytical approaches. However, post-hoc analysis detected signals for myocarditis (statistically significantly so in females), although the outcome was very rare and findings were based on few cases.

Evaluation of Potential Adverse Events Following COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination Among Adults Aged 65 Years and Older: A Self-Controlled Study in the U.S.
A Shaobi et al, MEDRIV, January 23, 2023 (Posted: Jan 23, 2023 9AM)

In these two studies of the U.S. elderly we did not find an increased risk for AMI, ITP, DIC, and Myo/Peri; the results were not consistent for PE; and there was a small elevated risk of BP after exposure to COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. These results support the favorable safety profile of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines administered in the elderly.

Bivalent Omicron BA.1-Adapted BNT162b2 Booster in Adults Older than 55 Years.
Winokur Patricia et al. The New England journal of medicine 2023 1 (3) 214-227 (Posted: Jan 19, 2023 7AM)

The candidate monovalent or bivalent omicron BA.1–adapted vaccines had a safety profile similar to that of BNT162b2 (30 µg), induced substantial neutralizing responses against ancestral and omicron BA.1 strains, and, to a lesser extent, neutralized BA.4, BA.5, and BA.2.75 strains.

The coronavirus is speaking. It’s saying it’s not done with us.
E Topol, Washington Post, January 8, 2023 (Posted: Jan 09, 2023 6AM)

There’s no sugar-coating it: The world has let its guard down on covid-19. And the virus’s latest dominant form, XBB.1.5, makes clear that we’re doing so just as the virus finds new ways to hurt us. The new dominant strain shows that the virus is always evolving to spread more quickly and infect us more efficiently. That should serve as a wake-up call for the country to re-invest in new vaccines, treatments and pandemic monitoring.

Comparative effectiveness of third doses of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines in US veterans
BA Dickerman et al, Nat Microbiology, January 22, 2023 (Posted: Jan 02, 2023 0PM)

We emulated a target trial using electronic health records of US veterans who received a third dose of either BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 vaccines between 20 October 2021 and 8 February 2022, during a period that included Delta- and Omicron-variant waves. The 16-week risks of COVID-19 outcomes were low after a third dose of mRNA-1273 or BNT162b2, although risks were lower with mRNA-1273 than with BNT162b2, particularly for documented infection.

The impact of pre-existing cross-reactive immunity on SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccine responses.
Murray Sam M et al. Nature reviews. Immunology 2022 12 1-13 (Posted: Dec 25, 2022 8AM)

we review evidence regarding the impact of pre-existing humoral and T cell immune responses to outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination. Furthermore, we discuss the importance of conserved coronavirus epitopes for the rational design of pan-coronavirus vaccines and consider cross-reactivity of immune responses to ancestral SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as their impact on COVID-19 vaccination.

Comparison of the mucosal and systemic antibody responses in Covid-19 recovered patients with one dose of mRNA vaccine and unexposed subjects with three doses of mRNA vaccines
S Liu et al, MEDRXIV, December 19, 2022 (Posted: Dec 20, 2022 7AM)

The science events to watch for in 2023 Moon landings, mRNA vaccines and climate finance are among the developments set to shape research in the coming year.
M Naddaf et al, Nature, December 19, 2022 (Posted: Dec 19, 2022 8AM)

Following the successful deployment of mRNA vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, a host of them are in development. BioNTech in Mainz, Germany, is expected to initiate first-in-human trials for mRNA vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and genital herpes in the coming weeks. BioNTech is also collaborating with Pfizer, based in New York City, to trial an mRNA-based vaccine candidate to reduce the rate of shingles. Moderna in Cambridge, Massachusetts, also has mRNA vaccine candidates for the viruses that cause genital herpes and shingles.

Early Estimates of Bivalent mRNA Vaccine Effectiveness in Preventing COVID-19–Associated Emergency Department or Urgent Care Encounters and Hospitalizations Among Immunocompetent Adults — VISION Network, Nine States, September–November 2022
MW Tenforde et al, CDC MMWR, December 16, 2022 (Posted: Dec 16, 2022 1PM)

Bivalent mRNA COVID-19 booster doses containing an Omicron BA.4/BA.5 sublineage component were recommended on September 1, 2022. The effectiveness of these updated vaccines against COVID-19–associated medical encounters has not been established. Bivalent booster doses provided additional protection against COVID-19–associated emergency department/urgent care encounters and hospitalizations in persons who previously received 2, 3, or 4 monovalent vaccine doses. Because of waning of monovalent vaccine-conferred immunity, relative effectiveness of bivalent vaccines was higher with increased time since the previous monovalent dose.

COVID spurs boom in genome sequencing for infectious diseases
S Mallapaty, Nature, December 15, 2022 (Posted: Dec 15, 2022 8AM)

From Dengue to Ebola, laboratories in Asia and Africa are using sequencing technology and skills acquired during the pandemic to quickly track endemic diseases. Before the pandemic, genomic sequencing was mainly reserved for research in many regions, but now it is being used for public health. As testing for SARS-CoV-2 declines in many regions, countries are starting to pivot to sequencing endemic pathogens. This increased interest in sequencing is generating more data for research, and opportunities to collaborate on new treatments and vaccines, say researchers. But there is a shortage of people who can interpret sequencing data such as bioinformaticians and epidemiologists,

Urgent Need for Next-Generation COVID-19 Vaccines.
Marks Peter W et al. JAMA 2022 12 (Posted: Dec 10, 2022 7AM)

Attempting to address the continued genetic evolution of SARS-CoV-2, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized bivalent boosters (original plus BA.4/BA.5 Omicron variant) for the 2 available messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines to address the waves of disease leading to hospitalization and death. These updated vaccines may also reduce the amount of symptomatic disease and associated heath care use. However, introduction of these bivalent boosters likely only represents a temporizing measure until variants emerge that necessitate additional booster vaccination or modification of the current generation of vaccines.

Happy Birthday, Omicron One year after the variant’s discovery, virologists are still scrambling to keep up with Omicron’s rapid evolution.
C Zimmer, NY Times, November 26, 2022 (Posted: Nov 29, 2022 9AM)

Now, a year later, Omicron still has biologists scrambling to keep up with its surprising evolutionary turns. The variant is rapidly gaining mutations. But rather than a single lineage, it has exploded into hundreds, each with resistance to our immune defenses and its own alphanumeric name, like XBB, BQ.1.1 and CH.1. But unless some radically different variant emerges, this confusing jumble of subvariants will endure, making it more challenging for scientists to plan new vaccines and treatments.

COVID-19 Vaccines Are Safe for People Receiving Cancer Immunotherapy
NCI, November 2022 Brand (Posted: Nov 28, 2022 10AM)

People with cancer who are treated with certain immunotherapy drugs can receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccines without an increased risk of immune-related side effects, new research suggests. The findings are in line with the results of earlier, smaller studies. The new study involved more than 400 people with cancer who were treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Each received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before or after treatment with a type of immunotherapy drug known as an immune checkpoint inhibitor.

COVID-19 Scientific Publications From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 2020–January 2022
E Meites et al, Public Health Reports, November, 2022 (Posted: Nov 28, 2022 10AM)

During the first 2 years of the agency’s pandemic response, CDC authors contributed to 1044 unique COVID-19 scientific publications in 208 journals. Publication topics included testing (n = 853, 82%); prevention strategies (n = 658, 63%); natural history, transmission, breakthrough infections, and reinfections (n = 587, 56%); vaccines (n = 567, 54%); health equity (n = 308, 30%); variants (n = 232, 22%); and post–COVID-19 conditions (n = 44, 4%). Publications were cited 40?427 times and received 81?921 news reports and 1?058?893 social media impressions. As the pandemic evolved, CDC adapted to address new scientific questions, including vaccine effectiveness, safety, and access; viral variants, including Delta and Omicron; and health equity.

Effectiveness of Bivalent mRNA Vaccines in Preventing Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection — Increasing Community Access to Testing Program, United States, September–November 2022
RL Gelles et al, MMWR, November 22, 2022 (Posted: Nov 22, 2022 11AM)

In this study of vaccine effectiveness of the U.S.-authorized bivalent mRNA booster formulations, bivalent boosters provided significant additional protection against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in persons who had previously received 2, 3, or 4 monovalent vaccine doses. Due to waning immunity of monovalent doses, the benefit of the bivalent booster increased with time since receipt of the most recent monovalent vaccine dose.

mRNA revolutionized the race for a Covid-19 vaccine. Could cancer be next?
J Wosen, Stat News, November 21, 2022 (Posted: Nov 21, 2022 7AM)

The unprecedented success of messenger RNA vaccines against the coronavirus is raising hopes that the technology could lead to new and better vaccines against a much older public health scourge: cancer. In some ways, the challenge is similar: The aim of any vaccine is to focus the immune system’s response against a particular molecule, or antigen, whether that’s a piece of a virus or a protein that coats tumor cells. There’s one important difference, however: Cancer vaccines are generally treatments rather than preventative measures.

Safety and reactogenicity of second booster doses for mRNA vaccines
AW Smith et al, Lancet Resp Med, November 18, 2022 (Posted: Nov 20, 2022 6AM)

Achieving high and equitable vaccine coverage rates of primary series and first booster doses globally in people at greater risk of severe disease and death is the highest priority in the continued fight against COVID-19. However, waning vaccine effectiveness following primary series and first booster was observed at a time of widespread relaxation of public health and social measures, combined with immune evasion of the Omicron variant and its sub-lineages. Evidence from studies suggests that additional protection of the most vulnerable populations can be achieved through administration of a second booster dose, although the follow-up duration for these studies is limited.

Efficacy, Effectiveness and Safety of Vaccines Against COVID-19 for Children Aged 5-11 Years: A Living Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis
V Piechota et al, SSRN, November 18, 2022 (Posted: Nov 19, 2022 7AM)

VE against pre-Omicron variant SARS-CoV-2 infections was 73·0% (41%-87%, 1 RCT, CoE: moderate), while VE against Omicron variant SARS-CoV-2 infections was 41·9% (27·4%-53·5%, 6 non-randomized studies of interventions [NRSIs], CoE: moderate). Pre-Omicron VE against symptomatic COVID-19 was 86·7% (58·1-95·8%, 2 RCTs, CoE: moderate) and 38·7% (21·7%-52·1%, 5 NRSIs, CoE: moderate) after Omicron emergence.

Efficacy of the wild-type/Omicron BA.1 bivalent vaccine as the second booster dose against Omicron BA.2 and BA.5
H Kawasuji et al, MEDRXIV, November 81, 2022 (Posted: Nov 19, 2022 7AM)

Introduction In addition to the original monovalent vaccines available for SARS-CoV-2, bivalent vaccines covering wild-type (WT) and Omicron BA.1 are also available. However, there is a lack of real-world data on the effectiveness of bivalent vaccines as second boosters on the dominant Omicron sublineages. This prospective study shows that the second booster dose of the bivalent (WT/Omicron BA.1) vaccine induced higher neutralizing activity against BA.2 and BA.5 than that of the original monovalent vaccine.

Mode of delivery modulates the intestinal microbiota and impacts the response to vaccination.
de Koff Emma M et al. Nature communications 2022 11 (1) 6638 (Posted: Nov 16, 2022 8AM)

We assess the association between mode of delivery, gut microbiota development in the first year of life, and mucosal antigen-specific antibody responses against pneumococcal vaccination in 101 infants at age 12 months and against meningococcal vaccination in 66 infants at age 18 months. Birth by vaginal delivery is associated with higher antibody responses against both vaccines. Relative abundances of vaginal birth-associated Bifidobacterium and Escherichia coli in the first weeks of life are positively associated with anti-pneumococcal antibody responses, and relative abundance of E. coli in the same period is also positively associated with anti-meningococcal antibody responses.

Protection from previous natural infection compared with mRNA vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 in Qatar: a retrospective cohort study
H Chemaitelly et al, The Lancet Microbe, November 11, 2022 (Posted: Nov 13, 2022 6AM)

Understanding protection conferred by natural SARS-CoV-2 infection versus COVID-19 vaccination is important for informing vaccine mandate decisions. We compared protection conferred by natural infection versus that from the BNT162b2 (Pfizer–BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccines in Qatar. We found that previous natural infection was associated with lower incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of the variant, than mRNA primary-series vaccination.

High–temporal resolution profiling reveals distinct immune trajectories following the first and second doses of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines
D Rinchai et al, Science, November 11, 2022 (Posted: Nov 11, 2022 5PM)

We investigated responses to COVID-19 mRNA vaccination via high–temporal resolution blood transcriptome profiling. The first vaccine dose elicited modest interferon and adaptive immune responses, which peaked on days 2 and 5, respectively. The second vaccine dose, in contrast, elicited sharp day 1 interferon, inflammation, and erythroid cell responses, followed by a day 5 plasmablast response. Both post-first and post-second dose interferon signatures were associated with the subsequent development of antibody responses. Yet, we observed distinct interferon response patterns after each of the doses that may reflect quantitative or qualitative differences in interferon induction.

The landscape of mRNA nanomedicine
X Huang et al, Nature Medicine, November 10, 2022 (Posted: Nov 11, 2022 7AM)

Messenger RNA (mRNA) is an emerging class of therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of a wide range of diseases. The recent success of the two highly efficacious mRNA vaccines to protect against COVID-19 highlights the huge potential of mRNA technology for revolutionizing life science and medical research. Challenges related to mRNA stability and immunogenicity, as well as in vivo delivery and the ability to cross multiple biological barriers, have been largely addressed. In this Review, we present the latest advances and innovations in the growing field of mRNA nanomedicine, in the context of ongoing clinical translation and future directions to improve clinical efficacy.

Interim Recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the Use of Bivalent Booster Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines - United States, October 2022.
Rosenblum Hannah G et al. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 2022 11 (45) 1436-1441 (Posted: Nov 11, 2022 6AM)

During September-October 2022, FDA authorized bivalent mRNA vaccines for use as a booster dose in persons aged =5 years who completed any FDA-approved or FDA-authorized primary series and removed EUAs for monovalent COVID-19 booster doses. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna bivalent booster vaccines each contain equal amounts of spike mRNA from the ancestral and Omicron BA.4/BA.5 strains. After the EUA amendments, ACIP and CDC recommended that all persons aged =5 years receive 1 bivalent mRNA booster dose =2 months after completion of any FDA-approved or FDA-authorized monovalent primary series or monovalent booster doses.

Targeting KRAS in Pancreatic Cancer
D Cowser et al, J Per Med, November 8, 2022 (Posted: Nov 09, 2022 8AM)

Pancreatic cancer is mainly driven by mutations in the KRAS oncogene. While this cancer has shown remarkable therapy resistance, new approaches to inhibit mutated KRAS, KRAS activators and effectors show promise in breaking this therapeutic deadlock. Here, we review these innovations in therapies that target RAS signaling in pancreatic cancer from a clinical point of view. A number of promising approaches are currently in clinical trials or in clinical development. We focus on small-molecule drugs but also discuss immunotherapies and tumor vaccines.

Can mRNA vaccines transform the fight against Ebola? On the heels of successful COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, the technology could hold promise in protecting against another deadly pathogen.
M Koslov, Nature, November 7, 2022 (Posted: Nov 08, 2022 6AM)

There are no vaccines proved to protect against the type of Ebola currently circulating in Uganda. COVID-19 vaccines that rely on mRNA technology are credited with transforming humanity’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The vaccines sped through clinical trials in just months and gained approval from major regulatory bodies less than a year after development began. Now, as Uganda battles a type of Ebola without proven vaccines, is an mRNA vaccine against the deadly virus on the cards? And would such a vaccine similarly transform the fight against Ebola?

Safety Monitoring of Bivalent COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Booster Doses Among Persons Aged ≥12 Years — United States, August 31–October 23, 2022
AM Hause et al, MMWR, November 3, 2022 (Posted: Nov 03, 2022 3PM)

CDC recommended bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccination for persons aged =12 years in August 2022; approximately 22.6 million bivalent booster doses were administered during August 31–October 23, 2022. Early safety findings from v-safe and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System for bivalent booster doses administered to persons aged =12 years during the first 7 weeks of vaccine availability are similar to those previously described for monovalent vaccine booster vaccines.

Comparative risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome or thromboembolic events associated with different covid-19 vaccines: international network cohort study from five European countries and the US.
Li Xintong et al. BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 2022 10 e071594 (Posted: Oct 29, 2022 10AM)

In this multinational study, a pooled 30% increased risk of thrombocytopenia after a first dose of the ChAdOx1-S vaccine was observed, as was a trend towards an increased risk of venous thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome after Ad26.COV2.S compared with BNT162b2. Although rare, the observed risks after adenovirus based vaccines should be considered when planning further immunisation campaigns and future vaccine development.

Bell's Palsy Following SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
A Rafati et al, MEDRXIV, October 26, 2022 (Posted: Oct 27, 2022 9AM)

Our meta-analysis suggests a higher incidence of BP among vaccinated vs. placebo groups. BP occurrence did not significantly differ between Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines. SARS-CoV-2 infection posed a significantly greater risk for BP than SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

What next for covid-19 vaccines?
et al. BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 2022 10 o2535 (Posted: Oct 25, 2022 9AM)

Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines at Preventing Emergency Department or Urgent Care Encounters and Hospitalizations Among Immunocompromised Adults: An Observational Study of Real-World Data Across 10 US States from August-December 2021
PJ Embi et al, MEDRXIV, October 22, 2022 (Posted: Oct 24, 2022 10AM)

During B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant predominance, IC adults received moderate protection against COVID-19-associated medical events from three mRNA doses, or one viral-vector dose plus a second dose of any product. However, protection was lower in IC versus non-IC patients, especially among transplant recipients, underscoring the need for additional protection among IC adults.

Effectiveness of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19-Associated Hospitalizations Among Immunocompromised Adults During SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Predominance - VISION Network, 10 States, December 2021-August 2022.
Britton Amadea et al. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 2022 10 (42) 1335-1342 (Posted: Oct 22, 2022 0PM)

COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness (VE) data among immunocompromised persons during SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant predominance are limited. Among immunocompromised adults hospitalized with a COVID-like illness, 2-dose monovalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccine VE against COVID-19–associated hospitalization during Omicron predominance was 36%. VE was 67% =7 days after a third dose during BA.1 predominance but declined during BA.2/BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 predominance to 32% =90 days after dose 3 and 4.

Effectiveness of Monovalent mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Among Immunocompetent Adults During BA.1/BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5 Predominant Periods of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant in the United States - IVY Network, 18 States, December 26, 2021-August 31, 2022.
Surie Diya et al. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 2022 10 (42) 1327-1334 (Posted: Oct 22, 2022 11AM)

Monovalent mRNA vaccine effectiveness (VE) against COVID-19–associated hospitalization wanes over time; less is known about durability of protection during the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.4/BA.5–predominant period. Three-dose monovalent mRNA VE estimates against COVID-19–associated hospitalization decreased with time since vaccination. Three-dose VE during the BA.1/BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5 periods was 79% and 60%, respectively, during the initial 120 days after the third dose and decreased to 41% and 29%, respectively, after 120 days from vaccination.

Omicron boosters could arm you against variants that don't yet exist.
Reardon Sara et al. Nature 2022 10 (Posted: Oct 15, 2022 7AM)

Booster shots against current SARS-CoV-2 variants can help the human immune system to fight variants that don’t exist yet. That’s the implication of two new studies1,2 analyzing how a booster shot or breakthrough infection affects antibody-producing cells: some of these cells evolve over time to exclusively create new antibodies that target new strains, whereas others produce antibodies against both new and old strains. The findings provide reassurance that new vaccines targeting the Omicron variant will provide some benefit.

Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters
CDC, October 14, 2022 Brand (Posted: Oct 15, 2022 6AM)

CDC recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines for their age group: Children and teens ages 6 months–17 years Adults ages 18 years and older. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection against COVID-19. If you recently had COVID-19, you may consider delaying your next vaccine dose (primary dose or booster) by 3 months from when your symptoms started or, if you had no symptoms, when you first received a positive test. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have different recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines.

CDC Expands Updated COVID-19 Vaccines to Include Children Ages 5 Through 11
CDC, October 12, 2022 Brand (Posted: Oct 13, 2022 6PM)

CDC’s Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., signed a decision memo expanding the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 through 11 years. This follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization of updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech for children ages 5 through 11 years, and from Moderna for children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years.

Pandemic origins and a One Health approach to preparedness and prevention: Solutions based on SARS-CoV-2 and other RNA viruses
GD Keusch et al, PNAS, October 10, 2022 (Posted: Oct 10, 2022 5PM)

We identify three primary targets for pandemic prevention and preparedness: first, smart surveillance coupled with epidemiological risk assessment across wildlife–livestock–human (One Health) spillover interfaces; second, research to enhance pandemic preparedness and expedite development of vaccines and therapeutics; and third, strategies to reduce underlying drivers of spillover risk and spread and reduce the influence of misinformation. For all three, continued efforts to improve and integrate biosafety and biosecurity with the implementation of a One Health approach are essential.

After Giving Up on Cancer Vaccines, Doctors Start to Find Hope
G Kolata, NY Times, October 10, 2022 (Posted: Oct 10, 2022 11AM)

Encouraging data from preliminary studies are making some doctors feel optimistic about developing immunizations against pancreatic, colon and breast cancers. That view is a far cry from where the field was a decade ago, when researchers had all but given up. Studies that would have seemed like a pipe dream are now underway. Researchers foresee a time when anyone with a precancerous condition or a genetic predisposition to cancer could be vaccinated and protected.

Boosting with updated COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.
Bhattacharya Deepta et al. Nature medicine 2022 10 (Posted: Oct 08, 2022 7AM)

Emerging evidence shows that boosting with updated mRNA vaccines that target SARS-CoV-2 variants stimulates better neutralizing antibody responses than homologous boosters. The precise degree to which the enhanced antibody response elicited by updated bivalent vaccines will restore protection against infections and disease awaits real-world effectiveness studies.

Long COVID Risk and Pre-COVID Vaccination: An EHR-Based Cohort Study from the RECOVER Program
MD Brannock et al, MEDRXIV, October 7, 2022 (Posted: Oct 08, 2022 7AM)

In both cohorts, when adjusting for demographics and medical history, pre-COVID vaccination was associated with a reduced risk of long COVID (clinic-based cohort: HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.55-0.80; OR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.59-0.82; model-based cohort: HR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.56-0.69; OR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.65-0.75). Our results bolster the growing consensus that vaccines retain protective effects against long COVID even in breakthrough infections.

Vaccines alone cannot slow the evolution of SARS-CoV-2
D van Enegren, MEDRXIV, October 6, 2022 (Posted: Oct 07, 2022 7AM)

Imprinted SARS-CoV-2 humoral immunity induces convergent Omicron RBD evolution
Y Cao et al, BIORXIV, October 4, 2022 (Posted: Oct 05, 2022 0PM)

These results suggest that current herd immunity and BA.5 vaccine boosters may not provide sufficiently broad protection against infection. Broad-spectrum SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and NAb drugs development should be of high priority, and the constructed convergent mutants could serve to examine their effectiveness in advance.

Fatal cases after Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 infection: Diffuse alveolar damage occurs only in a minority - results of an autopsy study
B Maerkl et al, MEDRXIV, October 5, 2022 (Posted: Oct 05, 2022 0PM)

Despite high viral loads in almost all nasopharyngeal swabs and in 13 lung tissue samples, death caused by COVID-19-associated diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) in the acute and organizing stages was found in only eight cases (31%). This rate is significantly lower compared to previous studies, including non-Omicron variants, where rates of 92% and 69% for non-vaccinated and fully vaccinated vaccines were observed.

Impact of Differential Vaccine Effectiveness on COVID-19 Hospitalization Cases: Projections for 10 Developed Countries where Booster Vaccines were Recommended
M Maschio et al, MEDRXIV, September 27, 2022 (Posted: Sep 30, 2022 7AM)

Effectiveness of a Second COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose Against Infection, Hospitalization, or Death Among Nursing Home Residents - 19 States, March 29-July 25, 2022.
McConeghy Kevin W et al. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 2022 9 (39) 1235-1238 (Posted: Sep 30, 2022 7AM)

COVID-19 vaccines have been effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated hospitalizations and deaths among nursing home residents. In a large cohort of nursing home residents, receipt of a second mRNA COVID-19 booster dose during circulation of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants was 74% effective at 60 days against severe COVID-19–related outcomes (including hospitalization or death) and 90% against death alone compared with receipt of a single booster dose.

Incidence of Severe COVID-19 Illness Following Vaccination and Booster With BNT162b2, mRNA-1273, and Ad26.COV2.S Vaccines
JD Kelley et al, JAMA September 26, 2022 (Posted: Sep 26, 2022 4PM)

This retrospective cohort study included 1?610?719 participants receiving care at Veterans Health Administration facilities, followed up for 24 weeks (July 1, 2021, to May 30, 2022) after completing a COVID-19 vaccination series and booster. Overall, the incidence of hospitalization with COVID-19 pneumonia or death was 8.9 per 10?000 persons. In a US cohort, there was a low incidence of hospitalization with COVID-19 pneumonia or death following vaccination and booster during a period of Delta and Omicron variant predominance.

A systems immunology study comparing innate and adaptive immune responses in adults to COVID-19 mRNA (BNT162b2/mRNA-1273) and adenovirus vectored vaccines (ChAdOx1-S) after the first, second and third doses
FJ Ryan et al, MEDRXIV, September 23, 2022 (Posted: Sep 24, 2022 7AM)

Estimated Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines Against Omicron or Delta Symptomatic Infection and Severe Outcomes
SA Buchan et al, JAMA Network Open, September 23, 2022 (Posted: Sep 23, 2022 2PM)

In this test-negative case-control study of 134?435 adults in Ontario, Canada, the estimated effectiveness of 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine was high against symptomatic Delta infection and severe outcomes and was lower against symptomatic Omicron infection. After a third dose, estimated vaccine effectiveness against Omicron was 61% for symptomatic infection and 95% for severe outcomes.

Dose of approved COVID-19 vaccines is based on weak evidence: a review of early-phase, dose-finding trials
D Dunn et al, MEDRXIV, September 22, 2022 (Posted: Sep 23, 2022 7AM)

Time to redefine a primary vaccination series?
MD Tanriover et al, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, September 13, 2022 (Posted: Sep 15, 2022 6AM)

In the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is getting harder to define what a full-dose COVID-19 vaccination series is, especially in the era of emerging variants such as omicron (B.1.1.529). The definition might differ depending on the dominant variant in circulation, the availability of vaccines, the risk factors of vaccine recipients, and the availability of surveillance and COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness data.

New Omicron-specific vaccines offer similar protection to existing boosters
E Callaway Nature, September 1, 2022 (Posted: Sep 01, 2022 2PM)

In the coming days, people in the United States and the United Kingdom will be among the first to receive a new breed of COVID-19 vaccine. The hope was that these updated vaccines — based on Omicron variants — will offer substantially greater protection than older vaccines based on the virus that emerged in 2019. But an analysis suggests that updated boosters seem to offer much the same protection as an extra dose of the older vaccines — particularly when it comes to keeping people out of hospital.

Omicron booster shots are coming—with lots of questions COVID-19 vaccines get their first update since the pandemic began. Here's what you need to know about them
G Vogel, Science, August 30, 2022 (Posted: Aug 31, 2022 7PM)

Human data are only available for the companies’ boosters targeted to BA.1. At a June meeting of FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, both the Pfizer-BioNTech collaboration and Moderna presented data showing that the shots had side effects similar to those of the original vaccines—including soreness at the injection site and fatigue—and induced strong antibody responses to both the original strain and Omicron BA.1. The companies also showed that the BA.1 vaccines prompted significant antibody responses to BA.4 and BA.5, although lower than that to BA.1.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccines for Use as a Booster Dose
FDA, August 31, 2022 (Posted: Aug 31, 2022 7PM)

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to authorize bivalent formulations of the vaccines for use as a single booster dose at least two months following primary or booster vaccination. The bivalent vaccines, which we will also refer to as “updated boosters,” contain two messenger RNA (mRNA) components of SARS-CoV-2 virus, one of the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and the other one in common between the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

Covid-19 Vaccines — Immunity, Variants, Boosters
DH Baruch, NEJM, August 31, 2022 (Posted: Aug 31, 2022 7PM)

Challenges facing the Covid-19 vaccine field include inequitable vaccine distribution, vaccine hesitancy, waning immunity, and the emergence of highly transmissible viral variants that partially escape antibodies. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge about immune responses to Covid-19 vaccines and the importance of both humoral and cellular immunity for durable protection against severe disease.

Immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 breakthrough infections: To change the vaccine or not?
van Zelm Menno C et al. Science immunology 2022 6 (74) eabq5901 (Posted: Aug 27, 2022 7AM)

The emergence of variants provides a challenge to the current vaccines and vaccination strategies because there is a risk of decline in vaccine efficacy as the number of mutations within Spike epitopes rises. Potentially, vaccine strain updates will be required in a manner similar to the annual influenza program. However, decision-making should be based on both real world and experimental evidence.

COVID vaccines slash risk of spreading Omicron — and so does prior infection But the benefit of vaccines in reducing Omicron transmission doesn’t last for long.
RP Scully, Nature, August 26, 2022 (Posted: Aug 27, 2022 6AM)

People who become infected with the Omicron variant are less likely to spread the virus to others if they have been vaccinated or have had a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to a study in US prisons. And people who have had a prior infection and been vaccinated are even less likely to pass on the virus, although the benefit of vaccines in reducing infectiousness seems to wane over time.

Affinity of anti-spike antibodies to three major SARS-CoV-2 variants in recipients of three major vaccines
PJ MacDonald et al, Comm Medicine, August 25, 2022 (Posted: Aug 26, 2022 8AM)

Recipients of two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as recipients of the single-dose J&J vaccine, develop high-affinity antibodies toward RBD derived from ancestral SARS-CoV-2. Affinities of these antibodies to Delta-RBD are approximately 10 times weaker, and even more drastically reduced (~1000-fold) toward Omicron-RBD.

Your first brush with coronavirus could affect how a fall booster works As omicron-specific boosters near, scientists debate how ‘original antigenic sin’ will influence immune responses
CY Johnson, Washington Post, August 23, 2022 (Posted: Aug 23, 2022 1PM)

In the beginning, when the coronavirus was new, the quest for a vaccine was simple. Everyone started out susceptible to the virus. Shots brought spectacular protection. But the next chapters of life with the virus — and the choice of booster shots for the fall and beyond — will be complicated by the layers of immunity that now ripple through the population, laid down by past infections and vaccinations. When it comes to viral infections, past is prologue: The version of a virus to which we’re first exposed can dictate how we respond to later variants and, maybe, how well vaccines work.


Disclaimer: Articles listed in Hot Topics of the Day are selected by Public Health Genomics Branch to provide current awareness of the scientific literature and news. Inclusion in the update does not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor does it imply endorsement of the article's methods or findings. CDC and DHHS assume no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the items presented. The selection, omission, or content of items does not imply any endorsement or other position taken by CDC or DHHS. Opinion, findings and conclusions expressed by the original authors of items included in the Clips, or persons quoted therein, are strictly their own and are in no way meant to represent the opinion or views of CDC or DHHS. References to publications, news sources, and non-CDC Websites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or DHHS.