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CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern," CNN reports.

The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first identified in India and has since been found across the world. It now accounts for most cases of COVID-19 in the UK, having overtaken the Alpha variant that was first identified there and pushing back re-opening plans, NPR adds. Some analyses have suggested that the Delta variant may be as or more transmissible as the Alpha variant, with NPR noting that new estimates suggest it is 50 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant and may lead to a higher number of hospitalizations.

In the US, the Delta is estimated to make up about 10 percent of COVID-19 cases, CNN adds.

The CDC previously considered the Delta variant to be a variant of interest, CNN notes, adding that the World Health Organization deemed Delta a variant of concern, about a month ago.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.