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Mass Spec on the Microbial Outbreak Scene

Researchers at the Brisbane, Australia-based diagnostic lab Mater Pathology report in a Journal of Clinical Microbiology paper appearing online in advance this week on their MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry-based investigation of Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. The Mater Pathology team reports having applied MALDI-TOF MS to quickly and accurately identify vanB positive E. faecium VRE from susceptible isolates, and to ascertain the relatedness of isolates contributing to an outbreak. "Internal validation of the optimal model generated produced a sensitivity of 92.4 percent and specificity of 85.2 percent," the authors write, adding that "prospective validation results, following incorporation into routine laboratory workflow, demonstrated a greater sensitivity and specificity at 96.7 percent and 98.1 percent respectively."

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people 65 and older or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.