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At-Home COVID Test Coverage

Beginning this weekend, private health insurers in the US must cover eight over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per person each month, Reuters reports.

Politico adds that the announcement made by the Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury departments is part of a Biden Administration push to stop the spread of COVID-19 by making it cheaper for people to test for it. But as Reuters reports, some experts see the move as "too little, too late" and note a nationwide shortage of over-the-counter tests.

"By requiring private health plans to cover people's at-home tests, we are further expanding Americans' ability to get tests for free when they need them," Xavier Becerra, the health secretary, says in a statement.

According to Politico, the new guidance also says that people who purchase testing kits from out-of-network sources must also be reimbursed up to at least $12 a test. If testing is ordered or conducted by a healthcare provider, there is no limit to the number of tests insurers must cover, Reuters adds.

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.