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Investment in China

Merck isn't the first pharmaceutical company to invest in research in China, but it sure is spending a lot more, says ScienceInsider's Hao Xin. The company says it plans to spend about $1.5 billion on R&D in China over the next five years, starting with a staff of 260 in Beijing. Merck already has a commercial headquarters in Shanghai and has built manufacturing facilities in other parts of China, Xin says. The first phase of the Beijing facility is slated to be completed in 2014, and will ultimately house 600 employees doing R&D, translational research, and working on getting regulatory approval for drugs in China and establishing collaborations with other researchers.

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.