Reading the Waves: Summit Targets Pandemic’s Evolution
As the country rides a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, it faces a riptide that’s threatening its course. The delta variant, the now-predominant strain of coronavirus, prompted President Joe Biden’s call for booster shots for all vaccinated adults on Aug. 18 and underscored discussions at a research summit that ran parallel to the president’s nationwide address.
“This is, of course, something that we’ve been looking at for a very long time,” summit keynote speaker Mary Marovich, MD, director of the Vaccine Research Program with the National Institutes of Health, said of the booster announcement just hours before it was made. “And we wanted to make that decision based on science.”
Held virtually again this year, the ninth annual Colorado Clinical and Transitional Sciences Institute CU-CSU Summit included about 150 scientists from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado State University and CU Boulder.
“We looked at different vaccines and different combinations of vaccines,” Marovich said of several booster-focused studies with early results suggesting value of a third dose. “We should have more complete results toward the end of this month.”
Pending Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, boosters for adults who received the mRNA-based Pfizer (202 million) and Moderna (142 million) vaccines could begin as early as Sept. 20. Johnson & Johnson announced this week that it will submit data to the FDA showing a significant antibody boost from a second dose for the about 14 million adults who received its one-dose vaccine.