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So Long

Joshua Sharfstein, the deputy commissioner at FDA, is leaving the agency after 21 months on the job, reports the Wall Street Journal. Sharfstein will be the new Maryland secretary of health and mental hygiene. His departure was reported first by a tweet from Congressional Quarterly's HealthBeat, prompting The In Vivo Blog speculate that Sharfstein's leaving likely as something to do with the goings-on on Capitol Hill. "We see Sharfstein's departure means first and foremost as a change in positioning for FDA facing the incoming Republican majority in the House," says Michael McCaughan at The In Vivo Blog. The Journal says that this may affect the release of the medical-device approval guidelines. "Any significant restrictions will likely cause a backlash in the device industry, which has allies among Republican House leaders," the Journal adds.

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.