In very young children, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus causes less severe disease than the Delta variant, according to a new study. In other research, new findings add to evidence that people with a certain version of a gene are less likely to develop severe COVID-19.

Sorrento Therapeutics announced that the company’s COVID-19 treatment Covishield (STI-9167) shows significant progress in neutralizing Omicron and Omicron variants of SARS-COV-2.

GlaxoSmithKline and U.S. partner Vir Biotechnology will boost production of their antibody-based COVID-19 treatment by adding a second manufacturing plant to help meet soaring demand in the United States.

New coronavirus cases are falling in parts of the United States hit hardest by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, according to a Reuters analysis of public health data, offering an early indication the virus might once again be in retreat.

The Omicron variant, which is spreading far faster than previous versions of the coronavirus, is not likely to help countries achieve so-called herd immunity against COVID-19 – in which enough people become immune to the virus that it can no longer spread – leading disease experts say.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and White House chief medical advisor, said they expect the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children under the age of 5 years in the next month.

A small preliminary laboratory study has shown that levels of Omicron-neutralizing antibodies of people vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine did not decline as much as those who had Pfizer shots.

Valneva said on January 19 that preliminary studies showed three doses of the French biotech firm’s inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate neutralized the Omicron variant of the disease.

Pfizer released data from several studies showing that nirmatrelvir, the active main protease inhibitor of the company’s antiviral combination therapy Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir), is effective against the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, a study conducted by 23andMe and published in Nature Genetics identified a genetic risk factor tied to the loss of smell from COVID-19.

Moderna Inc.’s vaccine candidate against the Omicron coronavirus variant will enter clinical development in the next few weeks and the company expects to be able to share data with regulators around March, CEO Stephane Bancel said on Jan. 17.