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This week's issue of Nature has a host of news and features linked to today's 50th anniversary of the former Soviet Union's launch of the Sputnik satellite. After the country's dissolution and economic collapse in the 1990s, Russian science has struggled to extract itself from bad policy, low wages, and research elite that makes for a less than vibrant scientific community.

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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.