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South Africa's science minister says the country should consider bringing its science funding under the purview of one department, reports Nature's News Blog, which adds that, for historical reasons, funding of the different science councils is done by different departments. The minister, Naledi Pandor, says all science funding should be given out by the Department for Science and Technology that she heads up.

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Moderna reports its vaccine is effective against new SARS-CoV-2 strains, though it is also developing a booster, according to the New York Times.

A new analysis suggests the B.1.1.7 strain of SARS-CoV-2 could be deadlier than previous ones, according to the Guardian.

NPR reports Merck is halting the development of its two candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccines following disappointing Phase 1 results.

In PLOS this week: gene mutation linked to inherited venous thrombosis, lncRNA patterns in the Asian tiger mosquito, and more.