What We’re Reading: Suspending COVID-19 Vaccine Patents; HIV and Vaccine Efficacy; COVID-19 Cases Projected to Drop by July

The United States agreed to temporarily suspend COVID-19 vaccine patents; HIV does not appear to impact efficacy of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine; cases of COVID-19 cases could decrease by July.

Vaccine Patent Protections Temporarily Waived

The United States agreed to back a proposal that temporarily waives intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines to help increase the global supply, STAT News reports. India and South Africa first introduced the proposal before the World Trade Organization last fall, with the aim to cover patents, industrial designs, and copyrights. With a waiver in place, countries that permit compulsory licensing can more easily allow a manufacturer to export vaccines. More than 100 low- and middle-income countries have pushed to find ways to speed vaccine production, as existing exemptions in trade law do not permit countries to distribute vaccines to other low-income countries that lack manufacturing capabilities.

Studies Indicate HIV Does Not Impact Vaccine's Efficacy

Results of 2 studies on immune responses to the Oxford/AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine among individuals with HIV show the vaccine produced similar responses regardless of HIV status, according to AIDSMap. Those with HIV also did not experience more adverse events from the vaccine. One study was carried out in the United Kingdom and the other in South Africa. Findings have yet to be peer reviewed, and further data are needed on individuals with CD4 counts below 350 or a detectable viral load. Previous research indicated people with HIV may have weaker or less durable responses to the annual flu vaccine or some hepatitis B vaccines.

US May See Steep Decline in COVID-19 Cases by July

The CDC projects the number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States could fall sharply by July, but that any decline could be delayed by a continued decrease in vaccination rates, CBS News reports. The country has seen decreased cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, but COVID-19 variants threaten to reverse this progress and ultimately set the country back, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH. The projection comes on the heels of news from Moderna, saying early results of ongoing clinical trials indicate a booster shot may be protective against COVID-19 variants first detected in South Africa and Brazil. The White House also recently announced a new goal of getting 70% of all adults at least 1 dose of a vaccine by July 4.

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