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Jan 26, 2023

Last Posted: Jan-26-2023 14:47:12

Public Health Genetics and Genomics Week 2023
PHGW, January 2023

Join us from May 15-19, 2023 to celebrate the fourth annual Public Health Genetics and Genomics Week! Public health genetics and genomics apply genetic and genomic information to improve public health and prevent disease. Public health genetics and genomics includes healthcare providers, patients, families, federal agencies, public health professionals, and non-profits. During the fourth annual Public Health Genetics Week, we will be celebrating the efforts of those individuals who participate in the public health genetics system and seek to raise awareness about the field.

Spike Gene Target Amplification in a Diagnostic Assay as a Marker for Public Health Monitoring of Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants — United States, November 2021–January 2023
HM Scobie et al, MMWR, January 25, 2023

When early nowcast estimates of rapidly emerging variants lacked precision and geographic resolution because of lags in genomic sequencing results, SGTF/SGTP estimates were used as complementary data by CDC and the SARS-CoV-2 Interagency Group to support guidance on the use of monoclonal antibody therapies. SGTF/SGTP data were also used as proxy markers in several early studies of vaccine effectiveness and severity of emerging variants (3,5,6). Continued monitoring of SGTF/SGTP patterns will likely serve as a useful complement to genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 lineages.

A Randomized Trial Comparing Omicron-Containing Boosters with the Original Covid-19 Vaccine mRNA-1273
IT Lee et al, MEDRXIV, January 24, 2023

The bivalent omicron BA.1 containing booster elicited superior neutralizing antibody responses against omicron BA.1 with acceptable safety results consistent with the BA.1 monovalent vaccine. Incidence rates for Covid-19 were numerically lower in participants who received mRNA-1273.214 compared to the original booster vaccine mRNA-1273, driven by the BA.2 and BA.4 sublineages.

Wastewater and surface monitoring to detect COVID-19 in elementary school settings: The Safer at School Early Alert project
RKF Miller et al, MEDRXIV, January 25, 2023

In 447 data collection days across the nine sites 89 individuals tested positive for COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 374 surface samples and 133 wastewater samples. Ninety-three percent of identified cases were associated with an environmental sample (95% CI: 88% - 98%); 67% were associated with a positive wastewater sample (95% CI: 57% - 77%), and 40% were associated with a positive surface sample (95% CI: 29% - 52%). The techniques we utilized allowed for near-complete genomic sequencing of wastewater and surface samples.

Second monovalent SARS-CoV-2 mRNA booster restores Omicron-specific neutralizing activity in both nursing home residents and health care workers
C Nugent et al, MEDRXIV, January 25, 2023

We examined whether the second monovalent SARS-CoV-2 mRNA booster increased antibody levels and their neutralizing activity to Omicron variants in nursing home residents (NH) residents and healthcare workers (HCW). We sampled 367 NH residents and 60 HCW after primary mRNA vaccination, first and second boosters, for antibody response and pseudovirus neutralization assay against SARS-CoV-2 wild-type (WT) (Wuhan-Hu-1) strain and Omicron BA1 variant.

Neutralization of BA.4–BA.5, BA.4.6, BA.2.75.2, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1 with Bivalent Vaccine
J Zhou et al, NEJM, January 25, 2023

The bivalent BA.4–BA.5 vaccine consistently elicited higher neutralizing responses against BA.5-derived sublineages (BA.4.6, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1) and the BA.2-derived sublineage (BA.2.75.2) than the original BNT162b2 vaccine when administered as a fourth booster dose, regardless of the participants’ history of SARS-CoV-2 infection. After the fourth dose, higher neutralizing titers developed in participants with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection than in those without a history of infection.

Effectiveness of Bivalent Boosters against Severe Omicron Infection
DY Lin et al, NEJM, January 25, 2023

Booster effectiveness peaked at approximately 4 weeks and waned afterward. For all participants 12 years of age or older, vaccine effectiveness against severe infection resulting in hospitalization over days 15 to 99 after receipt of one monovalent booster dose was 25.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], –0.2 to 44.2), and the corresponding vaccine effectiveness for one bivalent booster dose was 58.7% (95% CI, 43.7 to 69.8); the difference in vaccine effectiveness against this outcome between the bivalent booster and the monovalent booster was 33.5 percentage points.

Early Estimates of Bivalent mRNA Booster Dose Vaccine Effectiveness in Preventing Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection Attributable to Omicron BA.5– and XBB/XBB.1.5–Related Sublineages Among Immunocompetent Adults — Increasing Community Access to Testing Program, United States, December 2022–January 2023
RL Gelles et al, MMWR, January 25, 2023

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.2-related sublineage XBB.1.5 is gaining predominance nationwide. Vaccine effectiveness against XBB and XBB.1.5 is unknown. Using spike (S)-gene target presence as a proxy for BA.2 sublineages, including XBB and XBB.1.5, during December 2022–January 2023, the results showed that a bivalent mRNA booster dose provided additional protection against symptomatic XBB/XBB.1.5 infection for at least the first 3 months after vaccination in persons who had previously received 2–4 monovalent vaccine doses.

Efanesoctocog alfa for hemophilia A: results from a phase 1 repeat-dose study.
Toshko Lissitchkov et al. Blood advances 2021 11 (4) 1089-1094

We conducted a phase 3 study involving patients 12 years of age or older with severe hemophilia A. In patients with severe hemophilia A, once-weekly efanesoctocog alfa provided superior bleeding prevention to prestudy prophylaxis, normal to near-normal factor VIII activity, and improvements in physical health, pain, and joint health.

Sources of Innovation in Gene Therapies - Approaches to Achieving Affordable Prices.
Kerstin N Vokinger et al. The New England journal of medicine 2023 1

Gene therapies are a fast-growing area of innovation and potentially hold great promise for clinical care. Most recently, a new gene therapy, etranacogene dezaparvovec (Hemgenix), was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in adults with hemophilia B (factor IX deficiency); the cost of this one-time treatment has been estimated at $3.5 million. Since 2017, a total of 11 such treatments have been approved by the FDA.

STATEMENT American Society of Human Genetics Board of Directors On The Report of the ASHG Facing Our History – Building an Equitable Future Initiative
ASHG, January 23, 2023

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG)—and the research community it supports—believes in the power of human genetics to advance science, health, and society. However, ASHG and the field have failed to acknowledge, fully and consistently, the misuse of human genetics to serve unjust ends or take action to denounce such use.

Utility of long-read sequencing for All of Us
M Mahmoud et a, BIORXIV, January 24, 2023

We compared the performance of traditional short-read sequencing with long-read sequencing in a small cohort of samples from the HapMap project and two AoU control samples representing eight datasets. Our analysis revealed substantial differences in the ability of these technologies to accurately sequence complex medically relevant genes, particularly in terms of gene coverage and pathogenic variant identification. Our results show that HiFi reads produced the most accurate results for both small and large variants.

Variation in Use of Lung Cancer Targeted Therapies Across State Medicaid Programs, 2020-2021.
Thomas J Roberts et al. JAMA network open 2023 1 (1) e2252562

Does the use of targeted therapies for non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) vary across state Medicaid programs? This cross-sectional study found substantial variation in the use of targeted therapies for EGFR- and ALK-altered NSCLC across Medicaid programs, with evidence of underuse in 30 of 33 states. The observed variation was associated with Medicaid policies, oncologist density, and state gross domestic product per capita.


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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Disclaimer: Articles listed in Hot Topics of the Day are selected by the CDC Office of Genomics and Precision Public Health 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.
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