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To Boost Rapid Testing

New programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home testing for SARS-CoV-2 in the US, according to the Washington Post.

It adds that one such program at the US National Institutes of Health is using $70 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan to help test makers make their way through the regulatory process at the Food and Drug Administration and better understand what data the FDA needs. According to the Post, the hope for the program is to speed up the authorization process. It notes that the Biden Administration announced earlier this month that it would buy $1 billion worth of rapid tests.

While rapid tests are generally less accurate than PCR tests, they can return results in minutes and be used help make decisions about school or participating in other activities, the Post says, adding that other countries like the UK have implemented rapid testing as part of their pandemic response.

"This is all extremely good news, and I love that they are expanding the validation efforts so that there won't just be more tests, but high-quality tests," Gigi Gronvall from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security tells the Post.

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.