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The Dual-Use of Biology

Foreign Policy's David Hoffman is keeping tabs on synthetic biology. He has previously noted that "the knowledge of biology is dual use: that which can make our lives better can also be used for ill." And that led to the Obama administration's request for the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to take a look at the field of synthetic biology and DIY labs in particular. The commission's new report calls for self-regulation of the field, saying, as Hoffman points out, "that presently there appears to be no serious risk of completely novel organisms being constructed in non-institutional setting." Hoffman also adds the reminder that Craig Venter's group relied on a host organism and did not "create life" from scratch.

The Scan

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.