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And Cleared

A UK lobbying regulator has cleared former Prime Minister David Cameron over concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, the Financial Times reports.

Cameron took on consulting roles in 2018, including one as a consultant and chairman of Illumina's international board. At the time, he told the UK Advisory Committee on Business Appointments that his role there might bring him into contact with ministers but that he would not lobby on behalf of Illumina or be part of negotiations between Illumina and Genomics England, which was set up during while Cameron was PM.

In August, the UK's Times reported that, in 2019, Cameron urged then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock to attend a genomics conference after which Illumina won a £123 million (US $170 million) genetic sequencing contract. OpenDemocracy further reported that Cameron met with the UK vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi in March to discuss genome sequencing and that Illumina won £870,000 in contracts in late April.

As FT reports, the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists has concluded that Cameron did not conduct any unregistered consultant-lobbyist activity, as an incidental exception for when a person's main role consists of non-lobbying activities applied.

The Scan

Looking for Omicron

NPR reports that SARS-CoV-2 testing in the US has gotten better but also that some experts say more needs to be done to better track the Omicron variant.

Holmes Alleges Abuse

The Associated Press reports that Theranos' Elizabeth Holmes has testified at her wire fraud trial that her business and romantic partner abused her.

Bit More Diverse, But More to Do

While Black and Hispanic patients are more likely to participate in cancer clinical trials than previously, they are still underrepresented, according to US News & World Report.

PNAS Papers on Yeast Gene Silencing, Zika Virus Inhibition, Immunoglobulin Hypermutation

In PNAS this week: gene silencing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, possible neuroprotective role for SHFL in a mouse model of Zika virus infection, and more.