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EMA Votes for Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

The European Medicines Agency has recommended the conditional approval of Pfizer and BioNTech's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, the Associated Press reports

It adds that the EMA unanimously recommended the vaccine for people over the age of 16 and that though the move has to be given the OK by the European Union's executive branch, the AP says that is largely a "rubber stamp" and is expected to occur by Monday evening. This conditional approval, it notes, enables EU countries to begin offering the vaccine before the end of the year. According to the AP, Germany and other countries plan to begin vaccinations December 27.

"This is really a historic scientific achievement," Emer Cooke, the head of the EMA, tells the AP. "It is a significant step forward in our fight against the pandemic."

The AP adds that the EMA came under criticism by scheduling its meeting to discuss the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for December 29, which it then moved up.

The UK granted authorization for the vaccine earlier this month, followed by the US. Both countries have begun vaccination campaigns. The AP adds that more than a dozen countries have granted some type of authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The Scan

Should've Been Spotted Sooner

Scientists tell the Guardian that SARS-CoV-2 testing issues at a UK lab should have been noticed earlier.

For Martian Fuel

Researchers have outlined a plan to produce rocket fuel on Mars that uses a combination of sunlight, carbon dioxide, frozen water, cyanobacteria, and engineered E. coli, according to Gizmodo.

To Boost Rapid Testing

The Washington Post writes that new US programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests.

PNAS Papers on Strawberry Evolution, Cell Cycle Regulators, False-Positive Triplex Gene Editing

In PNAS this week: strawberry pan-genome, cell cycle-related roles for MDM2 and MDMX, and more.