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Just Breathing

Aerosols may contribute more to the spread of tuberculosis than previously recognized, the New York Times reports.

Tuberculosis, which is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, was long though to primarily be transmitted by coughing, with some bacteria being passed on by breathing, but a new analysis suggests that 90 percent of the M. tuberculosis a person with TB expels is as aerosols, the Times says. The analysis, it notes, was presented virtually at a conference.

The Times adds that the University of Cape Town's Ryan Dinkele and colleagues found that coughing still releases the most bacteria at a time, but that with more breaths in a day than coughs, more bacteria is emitted by breathing.

Experts tell the Times that the findings suggest a stronger TB screening program is needed. "We just need to screen the entire population, just like you would do if you're looking for a lot of COVID," Robert Horsburgh, Boston University epidemiologist who was not involved in the work, tells the Times.

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.