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In Nature this week, Research out of Stanford identifies three factors that, when expressed in combination, rapidly and efficiently convert mouse embryonic and postnatal fibroblasts into functional neurons in vitro. Asc11, Brn2, and Myt11 have shown to induce neuronal cells that express multiple neuron-specific proteins and form functional synapses.

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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.