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But, Again, Maybe Not

An advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration has determined there isn't enough data to gauge whether an Alzheimer's disease drug under investigation works, NPR reports.

Biogen had shelved its aducanumab treatment targeting the accumulation of amyloid protein in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's disease, but, as Time magazine reported last year, the company later resurrected the drug after a re-analysis of its data suggested that it might have an effect on cognitive decline after all. A recent review of the data by the FDA indicated that the agency might be in agreement with Biogen's finding that patients might benefit from treatment with aducanumab, as Stat News reported last week.

But the advisory panel that met Friday was less sure, according to NPR. It notes that one aducanumab study suggested it worked and another study indicated it did not, but that the FDA asked the panel to focus on the positive one. This, it adds, did not seem to go over well with the panel, which rejected the idea of approving the drug. FDA generally follows the recommendations of its advisory panels.

"Alzheimer's treatment is a huge, urgent, unmet need, but I also think if we approve something where the data is not strong, we have a risk of delaying good treatment," Joel Perlmutter from Washington University in St. Louis, one of the panel members, tells Science.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.