COVID Update, April 22

OHA release – Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations may protect against new variants – A new study from researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) suggests the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine can help protect people from emerging COVID-19 variants. The 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine was designed based on the Omicron XBB.1.5 strain of SARS-CoV-2, and the study shows the vaccine appears to generate antibodies that can neutralize the currently predominant JN.1 variant, at least in laboratory tests. The findings suggest a clear benefit to receiving updated COVID-19 vaccines each time a new formula for the vaccine is developed, especially for a virus that mutates as rapidly as SARS-CoV-2 does. “The virus is still circulating, it’s continuing to evolve, and it remains dangerous,” said co-senior author Fikadu Tafesse, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology in the OHSU School of Medicine. “Sooner or later, there will be another variant that evades the immunity we have already built up. Our study demonstrates that it’s worthwhile to update our immune repertoire.” Media questions should be directed to Erik Robinson, OHSU senior media relations specialist, at 503-494-8231 or

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