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NIST SARS-CoV-2 Research-Grade Test Material

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed a reference material to aid in the evaluation and development of RT-qPCR assays for SARS-CoV-2. The reference material consists of two synthetic RNA fragments from the SARS-CoV-2 genome in a background of 5 ng/μL human Jurkat RNA (stored at –80° C, BSL-1). Fragment 1, which has a total length of 3,985 nucleotides, and includes SARS-CoV-2 sequence 25949-29698 of isolate USA-WA1/2020; and Fragment 2, which has a total length of 3,790 nucleotides and includes SARS-CoV-2 sequence 12409-15962 of isolate USA-WA1/2020.

NIST said the synthetic fragments can be used to assess limits of detection for SARS-CoV-2 assays or calibrate other in-house or commercial SARS-CoV-2 controls. NIST characterized the material by size and using multiple reverse transcription droplet-digital PCR and qPCR methods. The agency is making the material free of charge through funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, in exchange for user feedback to help improve and further develop the material. 

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.