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Here's the Problem

In the world of biotechnology, most modern drugs are manufactured using living cells, says Susan Young at the Technology Review Editors blog. As Amgen President Robert Bradway said at a presentation to business leaders at MIT this week, "biotech is about accepting that the unit of production is the living cell."

And that acceptance comes with a whole bunch of challenges, Young says. Researchers at companies like Amgen use bacteria or cultured mammalian cells to make their drugs, and are working hard to determine the precise inner workings of those cells in order to make them produce more of the product with fewer contaminants. "Bradway pointed to recent drug shortages as an illustration of the challenge of production inside cells," Young says. "Some 20 percent of the time, therapeutic production lines fail due to substandard product quality."

The Scan

Vaccine Update Recommended

A US Food and Drug Administration panel recommends booster vaccines be updated to target Omicron, CNBC reports.

US to Make More Vaccines for Monkeypox Available

The US is to make nearly 300,000 vaccine doses available in the coming weeks to stem the spread of human monkeypox virus, according to NPR.

Sentence Appealed

The Associated Press reports that Swedish prosecutors are appealing the sentence given to a surgeon once lauded for transplanting synthetic tracheas but then convicted of causing bodily harm.

Genome Biology Papers on COVID-19 Effector Genes, Virtual ChIP-seq, scDART

In Genome Biology this week: proposed COVID-19 effector genes, method to predict transcription factor binding patterns, and more.