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Benitec Announces Positive In Vitro Data from Muscular Dystrophy Program

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Benitec Biopharma this week announced that it has obtained positive in vitro data from its early-stage program in oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy.

As a result, Benitec said it and academic collaborators will begin developing a vector that will use expressed RNAi to silence the mutant form of the PABPN1 gene, which causes the condition, and deliver a normal version of the gene.

Data from the cell-culture studies indicate that Benitec's multi-shRNA cassette can silence target gene expression to around 10 percent. The company is preparing to replicate this level of inhibition in animal models this year.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.