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Viral Hunting

Ian Lipkin at Columbia University is scouring samples to look for viruses, and he has found 400 new ones since 2002, reports Carl Zimmer in The New York Times. "If scientists are lucky, they'll identify one novel virus in their whole life," says Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Lipkin really stands out from the crowd." Instead of using microscopes to find viruses or tracking them down through antibodies, Lipkin searches for viral genes.

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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.