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Delta Variant Spread

The Delta variant now makes up more than 6 percent of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the US, CNBC reports, noting that this could be an undercount as the US only sequences a portion of cases. NPR adds that in some western US states it may account for about 18 percent of cases.

The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first identified in India and has since been found in 62 countries, CNBC says. In the UK, it has spread rapidly and now accounts for 60 percent of cases, outpacing the Alpha variant there, it adds. "We cannot let that happen in the United States," Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor, said during a press briefing on Tuesday, according to NPR.

Fauci added that the Delta variant appears to be more transmissible and may be associated with more severe disease, NPR reports, and that to combat it, the US must step up vaccinations. NPR adds that an analysis from Public Health England found that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against symptomatic disease from Delta variant infection.

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.