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On the Block

Merck and Schering-Plough will be joining forces in a $41.1 billion cash-and-stock deal, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Journal adds that pharma companies are suffering from a host of problems, "from product pipelines that likely won't be able to offset companies' blockbusters that will lose patent protection in the coming years to the potential of increased government pressure to lower prices." The new company will keep the Merck name and will see a workforce reduction of 15 percent.

In other news, Roche has upped its offer for Genentech, now offering $93 a share for the biotech -- more than the previous $86.50 but less than the $112 the Genentech board set as its price. "If you look at our offer, it shows the value we put on the ability of Genentech to create new products and to innovate in general," Franz Humer, Roche's chairman, says.

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.