Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Expanded Testing in UK

Community COVID-19 testing is to be expanded in Bristol and Liverpool as part of a push to stop the spread of new viral variants, the Guardian reports.

Viral variants have been identified in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil. Initial studies have suggested that the UK variant may be more easily transmitted, while others have indicated that existing vaccines may be less effective against the South African one. 

UK Health Minister Matt Hancock announced the expanded testing earlier this week, the Guardian says, adding that Hancock noted that 11 cases of "mutations of concern" had been identified in Bristol and 32 in Liverpool. It notes, though, that Public Health England later determined that cases did not represent South African and Brazilian viral strains, but original SARS-CoV-2 pandemic or UK strains that also developed a mutation — E484K — seen in those strains. 

"As with the variant first identified here in the UK, there is currently no evidence to suggest it is any more severe but we have to come down on it hard," Hancock told MPs, according to the Guardian. "Our mission must be to stop its spread all together and break those chains of transmission."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.