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NEW YORK — Grail said today that it will collaborate with three global pharmaceutical firms — Amgen, AstraZeneca, and Bristol Myers Squibb — to evaluate its methylation-based technology for the detection of minimal residual disease in early-stage cancer patients.

Blood-based genomic tests to detect MRD have emerged rapidly in recent years, with multiple companies exploring a variety of platforms. The most prominent so far have been assays like Natera's Signatera, which use sequencing data from tumor tissue samples to develop patient-specific liquid biopsy assays.

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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.