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J&J Booster Support

An advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration voted Friday to recommend the agency authorize a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson' SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, the Los Angeles Times reports.

It adds that the panel voted in support of a booster for individuals 18 years old and older who had received the J&J vaccine at least two months earlier. The LA Times notes, though, that if FDA authorizes the booster, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory group could then recommend that booster dose be prioritized to older or at-risk individuals.

The LA Times adds that as the J&J vaccine was developed as a "one-and-done" vaccine, it had wide support among officials and was geared toward groups that might face challenges in returning for a second shot. But with a booster, the LA Times says the J&J vaccine "could begin to look more like the two-dose vaccine regimens of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna."

"I think, frankly, this was always a two-dose vaccine," Paul Offit from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said during the panel discussion, according to NPR.

An FDA panel also voted last week in support of a Moderna SARS-CoV-2 booster, and the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has already received authorization for a booster for people 65 years old and older and for younger individuals at increased risk.

The Scan

Looking for Omicron

NPR reports that SARS-CoV-2 testing in the US has gotten better but also that some experts say more needs to be done to better track the Omicron variant.

Holmes Alleges Abuse

The Associated Press reports that Theranos' Elizabeth Holmes has testified at her wire fraud trial that her business and romantic partner abused her.

Bit More Diverse, But More to Do

While Black and Hispanic patients are more likely to participate in cancer clinical trials than previously, they are still underrepresented, according to US News & World Report.

PNAS Papers on Yeast Gene Silencing, Zika Virus Inhibition, Immunoglobulin Hypermutation

In PNAS this week: gene silencing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, possible neuroprotective role for SHFL in a mouse model of Zika virus infection, and more.