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Little Known

It's been a year since researcher He Jiankui announced that he had edited the genomes of twin girls as embryos, a revelation that was widely condemned. While He's announcement sparked discussions into the ethics of germline editing as well as efforts to develop guidelines for its use, the Associated Press notes little is known about those twin girls, a second pregnancy resulting from He's genome-editing work, or even He himself.

Following his announcement, He was under what appeared to be house arrest, it says, adding that he was last seen in public in January. The AP adds that its efforts to reach him were unsuccessful. It also reports that a Chinese investigation appeared to confirm the twin girls' existence and that of another pregnancy resulting from the work, which should have reached full-term over the summer. But the AP writes that little else is known about the health of the twins or the result of that pregnancy, though the state new agency Xinhua noted last January that twin girls and the expectant mother would receive follow-up medical care. 

"That's the story — it's all cloaked in secrecy, which is not productive for the advance of understanding," William Hurlbut, a bioethicist at Stanford University, with whom He had discussed his plans, but who was cleared of involvement in the work by Stanford, tells the AP.

The Scan

Panel Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for Kids

CNN reports that the US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted in favor of authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old.

Sharing How to Make It

Merck had granted a royalty-free license for its COVID-19 treatment to the Medicines Patent Pool, according to the New York Times.

Bring it Back In

Bloomberg reports that a genetic analysis has tied a cluster of melioidosis cases in the US to a now-recalled aromatherapy spray.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on SomaMutDB, VThunter, SCovid Databases

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database of somatic mutations in normal tissue, viral receptor-related expression signatures, and more.