Having caused over 6.2 million deaths globally ongoing, the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020 continues to pose a serious public health challenge. While the SARS-CoV-2 receptors angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane protease serine 2 play requisite roles in permitting the initial infection, up to 10 proviral host factors have also been determined to play crucial roles in controlling the viral replication, but most are not pharmacologically targetable.
The U.S. FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted unanimously to recommend COVID-19 vaccines for the 2023-2024 vaccination campaign be monovalent vaccines that target the XBB variants, currently the most prominent variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Regulatory snapshots, including global drug submissions and approvals, clinical trial approvals and other regulatory decisions and designations: Astrazeneca, Bloomsbury, Lantern, Merck & Co., Neobiosis, Pharmala, Phathom.
Scientists from the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute and collaborators have reported the application of a multispecific, multiaffinity antibody (Multabody, MB) platform derived from the human apoferritin protomer to enable the multimerization of antibody fragments against SARS-CoV-2. These MBs showed high potency to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 even at lower concentrations than their corresponding MAb counterparts.
The intellectual property waivers for American vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic are still controversial, but the World Health Organization (WHO) is nonetheless seeking a similar set of waivers for therapies and tests for COVID. A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee met June 6 to review these waivers, and subcommittee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he intends to continue pushing legislation that would require the U.S. president to obtain congressional approval for agreeing to any such waivers in the future.
The EMA and the European Center for Disease Control have said COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers should ditch the existing formulations and adapt their products to target the omicron-descendant XBB.1.5, to protect against SARS-CoV-2 in the winter of 2023–2024.