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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Apparent consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to emerge. Preliminary findings suggest that children born to mothers who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during their pregnancies might be more likely to be diagnosed with motor, speech, and language disorders in their first year of life. Whether the link is causal remains to be seen, but these children will need increased care, perhaps throughout their lives.

The prevalence of post-COVID conditions, or post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), might also be causing an increased demand for health care. Good news out of the United Kingdom showed that the odds of developing long COVID might be 20% to 50% lower for those infected with the Omicron variant than for those infected by the Delta variant. However, the number of Omicron infections in the United States is so large that if even a small percentage of those with Omicron infection develop long COVID, health care demand might increase (see Topics to Watch for a new vaccine that targets some Omicron variants).

In addition, reinfection rates are likely to rise as new lineages of the Omicron variant that can evade previously acquired immunity begin to dominate in the United States. A recent preprint using US Department of Veterans Affairs electronic health records warns that reinfection might increase the risk of mortality, hospitalization, and multiple disorders, ranging from lung diseases (see Topics to Watch for a potential treatment for associated lung failure) to poor mental health in both unvaccinated and vaccinated people compared with non-infected people.

JadiCell to Treat COVID-19–Associated Lung Failure

At a Glance

  • JadiCell is a mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy under investigation to treat COVID-19–associated lung failure.
  • The therapy is said to suppress lung inflammation by  altering inflammatory signaling pathways thought to modulate scar tissue repair as well as stimulating endogenous lung stem cells and the formation of new blood vessels, which might reduce lung damage, preserve lung function, and promote healing, potentially improving clinical outcomes.
  • Results from a phase 1/2, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of hospitalized participants with COVID-19–associated lung injury showed that JadiCell significantly improved patient survival and time to recovery compared with standard-of-care treatment.
  • In May 2022, the developer announced a planned phase 3 clinical trial of JadiCell in 128 patients with COVID-19–associated lung failure.

mRNA-1273.214 to Prevent COVID-19

At a Glance

  • The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 and its increasingly prevalent subvariant, BA.2, have numerous spike protein mutations that decrease the effectiveness of currently available COVID-19 vaccines, contributing to increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations worldwide.
  • Moderna (Cambridge, Massachusetts) is investigating a bivalent messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, mRNA-1273.214, that targets the spike proteins on both the original virus and the Omicron variant to prevent COVID-19.
  • Preliminary data analysis from a phase 2/3 trial found that mRNA-1273.214 increased antibody neutralization against Omicron and other variants in comparison with its predecessor.
  • The company is preparing to submit data to regulators and is hoping to make the vaccine available for use in the fall of 2022 as a booster dose for those who have already been vaccinated with an approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

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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].

Posted: July 1, 2022

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