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Another Dose for Immunocompromised Considered

An advisory panel in the US is to weigh whether individuals with compromised immune systems should be able to receive an additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine dose, according to the Washington Post.

Pfizer and BioNTech last week announced they were testing a booster of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, which they said leads to a 5- to 10-fold increase in neutralization titers. Officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though, said there was not enough data to support the need for a booster.

This CDC advisory panel, the Post notes, will focus on the portion of the population that is immunocompromised, such as individuals with cancer, organ transplant recipients, and people with HIV. Some immunocompromised individuals may not have had as robust a response to vaccination as healthy individuals, it adds, and an additional vaccine dose might increase that response and their protection.

The data there might be mixed, according to the Post. Massachusetts General Hospital's Camille Kotton tells it that organ transplant patients appear to have a lower response to vaccine, suggesting that another dose maybe warranted but Tufts Medical Center's Helen Boucher tells it she has not seen any data supporting additional doses for anyone, including the immunocompromised.

The Scan

Just Breathing

A new analysis suggests that most Mycobacterium tuberculosis is spread by aerosols from breathing, rather than by coughing, the New York Times reports.

Just Like This One

NPR reports that the World Health Organization has hired a South African biotech company to recreate mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 that is similar to the one developed by Moderna.

Slow Start

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biogen's Alzheimer's disease treatment had revenues for July through September that totaled $300,000.

Genome Research Papers on Cancer Chromatin, Splicing in the Thymus, Circular RNAs in Cancer

In Genome Research this week: analysis of bivalent chromatin sites, RBFOX splicing factors' role in thymic epithelial cells, and more.