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Califf Before Senate Panel

Lawmakers have questioned Robert Califf, the Biden Administration nominee to lead the US Food and Drug Administration, about the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid epidemic, and more, the New York Times reports.

President Joe Biden last month nominated Califf, who previously served as FDA commissioner during the Obama Administration, to again lead the agency. The post has been held since Stephen Hahn stepped down as commissioner at the end of the Trump Administration by Janet Woodcock in an acting capacity.

The Times reports that members of the Senate panel have expressed confidence in Califf's nomination, suggesting that there may be bipartisan support in the full Senate for his confirmation. Still, it notes that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) criticized Califf for doing too little to counter the opioid crisis, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said that Califf's career was an example of the revolving door between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. After previously leaving FDA , Califf joined Verily, part of Alphabet.

"All FDA's actions regarding the products the agency regulates must focus on protecting consumers and patients," Califf said, according to the Times. "Safety matters."

The Scan

Sensor to Spot SARS-CoV-2 Exposure

Yale researchers have developed a sensor that gauges SARS-CoV-2 exposure, according to the New Haven Register.

Watching BA.2

A subtype of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant has been found in a number of countries, the Washington Post says.

Vermont Weighs Genetic Discrimination Bill

VT Digger reports Vermont legislators are considering a bill to bar insurer from denying customers coverage based on genetic information.

PNAS Papers on Convergent Pathogen Effectors, Lineage-Related RNA Mutations, Desiccation-Tolerant Grass

In PNAS this week: convergent evolution of pathogen effectors, algorithm to identify cell lineage features, and more.