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DNAstack COVID-19 Beacon

DNAstack has released Beacon for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to enable the scientific and medical communities to share and discover knowledge about the genetics of the virus in real time. Beacon, which is available here, will allow information about genetic variants to be shared instantly using software that follows an open international standard, the company said.

Researchers can use the new Beacon to discover sequences with specific genetic mutations and map their geographic and evolutionary origins. The platform integrates derivative data from genetic sequencing libraries such as GISAID and links to Nextstrain pathogen evolution visualizations. 

The COVID-19 Beacon is compliant with the Beacon API, an internationally recognized open-source protocol developed by the Global Alliance for Genomic and Health (GA4GH). The system is deployed on Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform with global reach and scalability.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.