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George Inana, Margaret McLaren, GE Healthcare, SurModics, Agilent Technologies

George Inana and Margaret McLaren of Miami, Fla., have received US Patent No. 7,309,487, “Methods and compositions for detecting and treating retinal diseases.” The patent describes multiple genes related to age-related macular degeneration or phagocytosis by retinal pigment epithelial cells of the eye, as well as methods and compositions for detecting and treating AMD and other retinal degenerative conditions based on the genes. Also claimed are animal models useful for testing therapeutic compounds and treatment protocols for AMD, and gene arrays useful for the genetic screening of nucleic acid samples from subjects to obtain profiles of polymorphic-variant sequences in genes associated with AMD.

GE Healthcare has received US Patent No. 7,309,571, “Amplification of self-ligated, circularized cDNA for expression profiling.” The patent claims a cDNA amplification method where RNA is first converted to cDNA. The cDNA is then amplified using a Phi29 DNA polymerase-based rolling circle and strand displacement amplification. The method allows for RNA promoter sequences to be attached to the cDNA to facilitate additional amplification through the generation of RNA from the amplified cDNA. The resulting product can then be used to make materials for gene expression studies or other RNA analysis procedures, the patent’s abstract states.

SurModics of Eden Prairie, Minn., has received US Patent No. 7,309,593, “Attachment of molecules to surfaces.” The patent claims methods, reagents, and substrates that can be used for immobilizing biomolecules, such as nucleic acids and proteins. More specifically, the patent describes surfaces coated with a polymer as well as methods for thermochemically or photochemically attaching molecules to the surface at a high density.

Agilent Technologies has received US Patent No. 7,310,149, “Systems and methods for measurement of properties of small volume liquid samples.” The patent claims a system for measuring properties of small volume samples that includes: a) a source of electromagnetic radiation; b) a first optical system; c) an optical delivery system; d) a sample holding assembly; e) a second optical system; f) a detecting system; g) an optical transmission system; h) a data collector interface component operatively connected to the detecting system; i) at least one processor; and j) at least one computer-readable medium.

The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.