COVID vaccination

A year after infection with the coronavirus – when antibodies in the blood are barely detectable – the immune system continues to “remember” the virus and should respond to some extent upon re-encountering it, a study from China suggests. According to new research, women who were pregnant during the recent Omicron surge had more than eight times the rate of COVID-19 diagnoses, but lower odds of severe illness compared with pregnant women diagnosed earlier in the pandemic.

The most obvious risks from COVID-19 are hospitalization and death. But study after study shows the disease comes with an increased risk of a number of health problems, including diabetes.

Britain’s GSK halted enrollment and vaccination in three trials of the company’s experimental vaccine against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in pregnant women, the latest setback in developing a vaccine for the microbe.

Black women in the United States were nearly three times as likely to die during or shortly after pregnancy over the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic than white women, according to a government report published on February 23.

GSK paused a late-stage trial of the company’s vaccine candidate against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in pregnant women based on safety recommendations from an independent committee, the British drugmaker said on February 18.

With the Omicron surge waning – at least in the United States – there is speculation that the COVID-19 pandemic may be in its end stages, although some experts warn that this could be premature.

Oxford University scientists said on February 15 they would evaluate the effects of new coronavirus variants on pregnant women and newborns, as well as COVID-19 vaccination effects on complications during pregnancy and after birth.

Researchers at Bar-Ilan University and the Galilee Medical Center identified an association between vitamin D deficiency and severity and mortality of COVID-19.

Merck & Co. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced they have supplied about 3.1 million courses of their antiviral drug against COVID-19, molnupiravir, to the U.S. government. In other news, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that vaccination against COVID-19 not only protects pregnant women against the disease but their babies as well.

At 6 months of age, babies born to mothers vaccinated against COVID-19 during pregnancy are more likely to have antibodies against the virus in their blood than babies born to unvaccinated mothers who were infected while pregnant, a small study suggests. Additionally, contracting COVID-19 late in pregnancy is linked with a higher risk for obstetric complications, new data suggest.