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Pandemic Push for Grad Student Unions

In part spurred by the pandemic, more graduate students are seeking to unionize, Science reports.

It notes that after unsuccessfully petitioning the University of New Mexico to extend graduation and funding timelines during the pandemic, graduate students there determined they needed a "more formal voice." According to Science, about 60 percent of graduate students at UNM have signed on to join a union that the state union board is expected to certify.

Similarly, it says that graduate student researchers at the University of California are moving to unionize – teaching assistants there already are – and that graduate students at the University of Vermont are in the early stages of organizing. Marcus Weinman, a PhD student at UVM, tells Science that he had sought safety changes to the room where he taught a microbiology lab last year to no avail. "I would be lying if I said there wasn't a desire to do this before the pandemic started," Weinman adds at Science. But the pandemic "turned that up from kind of a small little ember into more of a pretty long-burning fire."

The Scan

Transplant Tests Edited Pig Kidneys

The Associated Press reports a University of Alabama-Birmingham team transplanted genetically modified pig kidneys into a brain-dead human patient.

UK Changes Some Gene-Edited Crop Rules

A new law may enable gene-edited crops to be sold in the UK within about five years, New Scientist says.

Pill Works Against Omicron in Lab

Pfizer's antiviral pill to treat SARS-CoV-2 appears to work against the Omicron variant, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Nature Papers Find Genetic Risk Factor for Smell, Taste Loss in COVID-19; Analyze TB Granulomas

In Nature this week: genome-wide association study find locus linked to the risk COVID-19 patients losing their sense of taste or smell, and more.