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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Nurse shortages across the United States continue to be a problem for hospitals caring for patients with COVID-19. Although the National Guard has been deployed to alleviate some of the strain (see Topics to Watch), many hospitals are also turning to travel nurses. The demand for travel nurses has created opportunity for many nurses to receive better pay, but the steep rise in staffing costs and private equity investment in staffing agencies has prompted congressional concern about potential price gouging.

Meanwhile, recent investigations have confirmed the pandemic is taking a toll on the care of people with chronic diseases, such as a decline in cancer screenings and cancellation of cancer treatments and the mental and physical impact of pandemic-driven isolation on people with Parkinson disease.

In addition, the long-term impact on the future health of individuals who recover from COVID-19 is becoming clearer. A large study found an increase in multiple cardiovascular problems, many of them chronic, among recovered patients over a year after infection.

Ensovibep (MP0420) to Treat Mild to Moderate COVID-19

At a Glance

  • Ensovibep (MP0420) is a designed ankyrin repeat protein (DARPin) being investigated to treat nonhospitalized adults with mild to moderate COVID-19.
  • DARPins are genetically engineered, antibody-like proteins designed to bind to a molecular target. Ensovibep  binds to the portion of SARS-CoV-2 responsible for binding to and invading cells in the body, thereby inactivating the virus and preventing further infection.
  • Preliminary phase 2 data showed that treatment with ensovibep, compared with placebo, was associated with decreased viral load over 8 days and fewer COVID-19 related hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and deaths. A phase 2/3 clinical trial is ongoing with an estimated primary completion date in May 2022.
  • On February 10, 2022, the manufacturers announced that they submitted a request to the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA) for ensovibep for treating mild to moderate COVID-19.

Mobilizing the National Guard to Address Health Care Staffing Shortages due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

At a Glance

  • As of January 2022, more than 15,600 National Guard members were supporting state and local officials in COVID-19 pandemic response efforts in 49 US states and territories.
  • More than 6,000 of the mobilized National Guard members were directly supporting hospitals, health care centers, and other medical facilities. Their efforts were to help address patient health care needs amid increased health care staffing shortages resulting from the recent spike in COVID-19 cases associated with the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant.
  • National Guard members are assisting in a variety of medical and nonmedical tasks including taking vital signs, administering SARS-CoV-2 tests, vaccinating patients against COVID-19, helping patients with activities of daily living, delivering meals, and cleaning.
  • About 1 in 4 US hospitals is experiencing critical health care staffing shortagesthe highest number reported since November 2020.

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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 horizonscan@pcori.org.


Posted: February 25, 2022

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