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Also High

The United Arab Emirates says a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed by China's Sinopharm had an 86 percent efficacy in late-stage testing, the Financial Times reports.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the trial included 31,000 participants, about a third of whom received placebo and two-thirds of whom received one of two vaccine formulations using inactivated virus. One, the Journal says, is based on a Beijing strain of the virus and one is based on a Wuhan strain of the virus, but these results are for the Beijing-strain vaccine. The participants received two doses of the vaccine 28 days apart, according to CNBC

The Financial Times adds that the UAE has officially registered the vaccine, which it says the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention calls a "major step towards combating the global pandemic." It notes that emergency use of the vaccine for frontline workers in the UAE was authorized in September, and the Journal adds that about a million people in China have also received the vaccine.

According to the Journal, experts say the results appear promising though more data is needed and they were curious as to why Sinopharm was not involved in the announcement. "I think it's great news but it's a little unusual not to come from the study manufacturer," Jerome Kim, director of the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, tells it.

The Scan

Panel Votes for COVID-19 Pill

A US Food and Drug Administration panel has voted to support the emergency use authorization of an antiviral pill for COVID-19 from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, CNN says.

But Not Harm

New Scientist reports that UK bioethicists say that though gene editing may improve food production, it should not harm livestock welfare.

Effectiveness Drop Anticipated

Moderna's Stéphane Bancel predicts that that current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may be less effective against the Omicron variant, the Financial Times reports.

Cell Studies of Human Chromatin Accessibility, SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Cell Signaling Networks

In Cell this week: chromatin accessibility maps of adult human tissues, modeling to track SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, and more.