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Another Vaccine Trial Begins

Novavax has begun a late-stage clinical trial of its prospective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in the US and Mexico, the Financial Times reports.

The company plans to enroll 30,000 participants into this Phase III trial of its vaccine NVX-CoV2373 in which two-thirds of participants will receive the vaccine and one-third placebo. Initial studies of the vaccine, which contains a synthetic version of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, indicated that participants developed anti-spike IgG antibodies after a single dose and a neutralizing antibody response after two doses of NVX-CoV2373, as the Sydney Morning Herald reported in August. The company began a late-stage trial of its vaccine in the UK in September.

FT notes that as two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization in the US, Novavax could have difficulty recruiting trial participants. In a statement, Gregory Glenn, president of research and development at Novavax, notes that participating in the trial will not negatively affect people's "ability to be vaccinated at the appropriate time." 

Novavax has secured $1.6 billion in funding from the US Operation Warp Speed to develop and manufacture its vaccine.

The Scan

Should've Been Spotted Sooner

Scientists tell the Guardian that SARS-CoV-2 testing issues at a UK lab should have been noticed earlier.

For Martian Fuel

Researchers have outlined a plan to produce rocket fuel on Mars that uses a combination of sunlight, carbon dioxide, frozen water, cyanobacteria, and engineered E. coli, according to Gizmodo.

To Boost Rapid Testing

The Washington Post writes that new US programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests.

PNAS Papers on Strawberry Evolution, Cell Cycle Regulators, False-Positive Triplex Gene Editing

In PNAS this week: strawberry pan-genome, cell cycle-related roles for MDM2 and MDMX, and more.