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Just Block This Right Here, Thanks

A hepatitis C drug from Santaris targeting a microRNA is now in the early stages of clinical testing, reports Technology Review. The drug, a synthetic nucleic acid, binds miR-122, which the hepatitis C virus needs to reproduce. "Whereas other chemistries invented in the last 20 years as a means to improve the [binding] properties of oligonucleotides [short strands of RNA or DNA] provide one degree of improved binding, locked nucleic acids provide five-fold to ten-fold improvement," Santaris's vice president and chief scientific officer, Henrik Orum, says. "It's really a quantum leap in affinity."

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.