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The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog reports that the Massachusetts legislature has upheld a law that restricts pharmaceutical and medical device companies from giving gifts to doctors. The blog's Katherine Hobson says there had been a push in June to have the ban repealed on the grounds that it "had negative economic effects and resulted in perceived hostility to the health-care industry." However, Hobson says, the ban stands.

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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.