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Likely to End in Spring

Free lateral flow testing for SARS-CoV-2 may end in the UK by next spring, the head of Innova Medical Group, a maker of lateral flow tests, says, according to the Financial Times.

It adds that while employer access to free tests has wound down in England, free lateral flow kits have still been publicly available at pharmacies or from a government website. Innova has in particular supplied the UK with more than 1.5 billion lateral flow devices under contracts worth more than £4 billion, FT says.

But Dan Elliott, Innova's chief executive, tells it that he would be "surprised" if free testing past the spring and that he was preparing for a shift to a retail environment. He notes, though, that the end date of the program would likely depend on SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

As FT adds, there have been questions about the accuracy of lateral flow tests. In June, the US Food and Drug Administration warned against using the Innova test, saying that its performance has not been adequately established, as 360Dx reported then.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.