COVID-19 Round-Up: U.S. Buys in Bulk New COVID Treatment; and More

U.S. Buys 600,000 Doses of New COVID Treatment Still Awaiting FDA Approval

The U.S. government has bought 600,000 doses of a new antibody drug called bebtelovimab that seems able to beat back the Omicron variant, even though the medication has yet to be given the green light by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The company said the contract is worth at least $720 million.

The new drug will be distributed to states for free if it receives emergency use authorization from the FDA, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

“We have more COVID-19 treatments than ever before, we are providing a billion free at-home tests, and we have enough vaccines to get everyone vaccinated and boosted,” he noted. “If authorized by FDA, this purchase will add an additional 600,000 courses of treatment to our nation’s ‘medicine cabinet’ that could help prevent severe outcomes for Americans who do get sick with COVID-19.”

COVID Infection Can Attack Placenta, Triggering Stillbirth

Pregnant women who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 are at greater risk for delivering stillborn babies, and new research provides important clues about why.

Unlike other fungal, bacterial or viral infections, which cross over the placenta to affect the fetus, SARS-CoV-2 is particularly lethal to the developing placenta, and this damage deprives the fetus of oxygen and nutrition, said study author Dr. David Schwartz, a perinatal pathologist in Atlanta.

In November, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that pregnant women with COVID are at increased risk for stillbirths, which is the loss of a baby before or during delivery. The risk remains rare, Schwartz said.

Getting a COVID Vaccine Won’t Affect Your Ability to Exercise

Worried that a COVID-19 vaccine might hamper your workout? New research suggests you can hit the gym with minimal effects.

In a study of 18 healthy people who received a COVID-19 vaccine, the participants were monitored while they did cycling workouts before and two to three weeks after being fully vaccinated.

The researchers also conducted exercise tests in a control group of people who did not receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The results showed that COVID-19 vaccination does not impair the body’s response to exercise, and that it’s unlikely to have a negative effect on exercise performance “in the vast majority of healthy people,” said senior author Richard Simpson. He is a professor in the School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness at the University of Arizona in Tucson.