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Microbial Boost?

Two studies plan to evaluate whether swabbing babies born via caesarian section with their mothers' microbes will boost their own microbiome and prevent disease, NPR reports.

One of the studies is taking place at the Inova hospital system and, there, researchers led by Suchitra Hourigan, a pediatric gastroenterologist, will first swab 50 babies, half with their mothers' birth canal microbiomes and half with a sterile solution, in a procedure known as vaginal seeding, NPR adds. If safe, then they plan to boost their cohort size to 800. The other study is to take place at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The thought, NPR notes, it that the procedure will lead to the microbiomes of these C-section babies to develop more like those of their vaginally delivered counterparts. And, as the number of C-section have risen around the same time as asthma, allergies, obesity, and other diseases, it may potentially cut down on disease risk as well.

"Who knows what's going to happen with the results? But if it does show something positive, I just think that would be great for kids and parents," Danielle Vukadinovich, an Inova study participant, tells NPR.

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 65 and older 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.