Briefing

The Briefing provides an at-a-glance view of some important developments in the information universe surrounding COVID-19. The views presented here are solely those of ECRI Horizon Scanning and have not been vetted by other stakeholders.

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Research on the impacts of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant are still preliminary and based largely on laboratory studies, but early results are beginning to show that Omicron has different characteristics from Delta variant. Animal studies suggest that Omicron causes less damage to the lungs than other variants, and one laboratory study suggests that infection with the Omicron variant might create greater immunity against the more severe Delta variant. 4 Four preliminary studies, however,  suggest that current antibody treatments will not be very effective against COVID-19 caused by Omicron. This might lead to a higher demand for the antiviral treatments that were granted Emergency Use Authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late December 2021.

The current surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant is overwhelming schools and businesses (see Topics to Watch for programs that may help address these needs). In addition, primary care providers are expecting a surge of patients with less severe COVID-19 that might impact their ability to provide routine care for patients with chronic diseases.

Integrated COVID-19 Testing Platforms to Minimize the Risk of Workplace Transmission

At a Glance

  • Integrated testing platforms are being used by businesses to provide safer working conditions to allow in-person work and reduce COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.
  • These platforms incorporate results from rapid antigen COVID testing kits and share the results with the employers in real time.
  • The testing platforms are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive health information of employees.
  • These integrated platforms might reduce the burden of separate test manufacturers, ambiguous population-management software, and disorganized communication.

Vaccine Mandates for Children to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

At a Glance

  • Vaccine mandates for children are being implemented by many cities and schools to limit the surge of COVID-19 cases occurring in the United States.
  • Many schools are requiring children 12 years or older to be fully vaccinated in order to participate in after-school activities and sports. Cities that have enforced vaccine mandates require children 5 years or older to be fully vaccinated for public dining and most other businesses.
  • About 25% of eligible children aged 5 to 11 years have been vaccinated with 1 dose, although vaccination rates  vary among states.
  • Vaccine mandates for children have the potential to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep those unable to be vaccinated or are awaiting vaccination safe in school and public settings.

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Commentary in this COVID-19 Scan reflects preliminary views of ECRI Horizon Scanning and internal ECRI stakeholders.
The information contained in this document has not been vetted by other stakeholders.

We welcome your comments on this Scan. Send them by email to [email protected]
or by mail to: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20036.


Posted: January 14, 2022

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