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The Next Test

The US has struggled to provide tests to diagnose who may have COVID-19, and the Los Angeles Times writes that there is another testing challenge ahead.

It adds that a test to determine whether someone has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and recovered will be needed. Such an antibody assay would be able to identify people who may be immune to the disease and could go back to work, care for those who are ill, or provide blood for convalescent plasma treatments. The LA Times adds that this type of testing could also give an indication of when the pandemic might end.

But, as the LA Times notes, SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays are only available in US research labs — researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine, for instance, have created a serum antibody test, it notes — have not been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, and have not been developed for broad use.

"The scientific and practical hurdles that come with fielding an antibody assay are legion, and scientists worry that, as with the COVID-19 diagnostic tests, their efforts will come too late to help," the LA Times writes.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.