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Close Panel Vote on Califf Nomination

A Senate panel has voted to advance the nomination of Robert Califf to lead the US Food and Drug Administration, the New York Times reports. It notes, though, that the committee vote was close, which likely portends another close vote when his nomination goes before the whole Senate.

President Joe Biden nominated Califf, who previously served as FDA commissioner during the Obama Administration, to the position in November. At the time, insiders told the Associated Press that Califf was a "safe choice" as he is known and respected in Washington.

According to the Times, Califf had the support of both Democrats and Republicans on the panel. It notes that Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), the ranking member of the committee, voted for Califf and urged other Republicans to follow suit due to Califf's experience and support of innovation. However, a handful of Democratic committee members opposed Califf's nomination, mostly citing Califf's record on opioids, the Times says. It adds that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) also criticized Califf as an example of the "revolving door" between the agency and the private sector — Califf joined Alphabet's Verily after previously leaving FDA.

The Scan

For STEM Students to Stay

New policy changes will make it easier for international STEM students to stay in the US after graduation, the Wall Street Journal reports.

To Inform or Not, To Know or Not

The New York Times writes that some genetic biobanks may re-contact donors if they spot something troublesome, but it notes that not all donors want that information.

Rapid Test Studies

Researchers are examining why rapid tests may be less effective at detecting the Omicron variant and how to improve them, NPR says.

PLOS Papers on SARS-CoV-2 Diversity in Delaware, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Adiposity GWAS

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 isolates from Delaware, gene expression and protein-protein interaction patterns in metastatic breast cancer, and more.