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Air Testing

Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed an air sampler to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, Thermo's AerosolSense device pulls air in and directs it at a collection cartridge that traps viral particles. That cartridge can then be removed and sent to a lab for PCR analysis, it adds, noting that a rapid PCR test can also be used. The company tells the Times it has tested the device in both the hospital rooms of COVID-19 patients where it, as expected, uncovered the virus and in hospital staff breakrooms where it did not.

The Times notes that results from the samplers need to be treated cautiously, as a negative result only means it did not detect the virus, which can be present at low levels in the air. Additionally, how to manage a positive finding is unclear, but could involve increased ventilation and viral surveillance, it says.

Alex Huffman from University of Denver tells the Times that tools like these could improve decision making in future viral outbreaks, including the flu. "That's not to say it can't help now, but I think its real influence may be even greater as we go further and further into the future," he adds.

The Scan

For Better Odds

Bloomberg reports that a child has been born following polygenic risk score screening as an embryo.

Booster Decision Expected

The New York Times reports the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine this week for individuals over 65 or at high risk.

Snipping HIV Out

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Temple University researchers are to test a gene-editing approach for treating HIV.

PLOS Papers on Cancer Risk Scores, Typhoid Fever in Colombia, Streptococcus Protection

In PLOS this week: application of cancer polygenic risk scores across ancestries, genetic diversity of typhoid fever-causing Salmonella, and more.