This week in COVID-19: A patent-free COVID-19 vaccine may be on the horizon

COVID-19 updates and news to know as of January 17, 2022.

As of January 15, there have been 65,159,554COVID-19 cases in the United States. In the last 7 days, there have been 5,588,350new cases identified. (CDC)

Results of a recent CBS News/YouGov poll show that only 49% of Americans currently approve of President Biden’s management of the pandemic. This is compared with a previous approval rate of 66% of respondents to an earlier version of the same poll in July. (New York Times)

On January 13, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 Vaccine mandate for private businesses, but allowed the mandate to proceed for medical facilities that receive payments from Medicare or Medicaid. (CNBC)

This decision comes as the number of known global COVID-19 cases reach—and surpass—300 million. (New York Times)

Scientists from the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine have developed a patent-free COVID-19 called Corbevax, hailed as “the world’s COVID-19 vaccine.” Corbevax uses decades-old technology—similar to that used to produce hepatitis B vaccines—and can be manufactured by anyone capable of producing microbial-based proteins like bacteria or yeast. Clinical trial data has not yet been released, but researchers say that the vaccine was 90% and 80% effective against the original COVID-19 strain and the Delta variant, respectively. (The Guardian)

Some infectious disease experts have found the silver lining to the current Omicron surge: a potential “blanket of enhanced immunity” that renders the virus “easier to live with.” (NPR)

The Omicron variant has reached Beijing—just 3 weeks before the Winter Olympics are poised to begin. City authorities imposed an immediate lockdown and mass testing—a totalof 2430 samples—in an effort to stamp out the outbreak before it begins. (New York Times)

Novak Djokovic has made headlines in the last few weeks—but not for his tennis game. The tennis star has faced a slew of recent issues stemming from his decision to not be vaccinated against COVID-19. After a tumultuous saga (Associated Press)involving a medical exemption to Australian vaccination policy, detainment, and visa cancellation, Djokovic was deported from the country this morning “on public interest grounds.” (ESPN)

It’s not just international tennis stars who are facing repercussions to remaining unvaccinated, however: in Greece, adults aged 60 or older who remain unvaccinated will face monthly 100 euro ($114 USD), according to a new policy implemented in a country with a vaccination rate below the European Union average. (NPR)

And all across Europe, the unvaccinated are being locked out of public life, being denied entry to schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and gyms. Despite widespread public protest, European leaders are prepared to stand their ground as a measure to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNN)

This post was originally published on Drug Topics®