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Good Apart, Bad Together

Using a new computer algorithm they created that compiles reams of data on adverse drug reactions, Stanford University researchers have shown thousands of previously unknown side effects caused when some drugs are taken in combination, reports Nature News' Heidi Ledford. "Although clinical trials are often designed to assess the safety of a drug in addition to how well it works, the size of the trials needed to detect the full range of drug interactions would surpass even the large, late-stage clinical trials sometimes required for drug approval," Ledford says. So this algorithm, published in Science Translational Medicine is another way for doctors and regulators to assess a drug's safety profile as it's used in real time.

To reduce the bias inherent in adverse drug reaction reporting — for example, Ledford says, certain drugs are taken by certain segments of the population, which may be suffering from co-morbidities — the algorithm is designed to match data from each patient taking a drug to a control patient with the same condition. "The approach automatically corrected for several known sources of bias, including those linked to gender, age, and disease," Ledford says.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.