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Twist Bioscience Synthetic RNA Controls for SARS-CoV-2 UK Variant

Twist Bioscience has begun shipping new synthetic RNA reference controls for SARS-CoV-2 that include the new variant strain of the virus (B1.1.7 lineage, variant under investigation VUI-202012/01) identified in the UK. As the new strain contains multiple mutations in the spike protein and other areas of the viral genome, some of the RT-PCR probes used widely in COVID-19 testing no longer detect the S gene that codes for the spike protein, which can lead to false negative test results. Synthetic controls for this specific mutation will enable test developers to update their testing protocols, Twist said.

The Scan

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.