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More SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to ramp up the number of SARS-CoV-2 samples that are sequenced in the US, CNN reports.

CNN adds that the US has been criticized for its limited SARS-CoV-2 sequencing. It notes, for instance, that the US has contributed 57,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences to the GISAID database, while the UK has submitted 141,000 sequences.

The CDC's Gregory Armstrong tells it that the US currently sequences about 3,000 samples a week and that the agency hopes to increase that to about 6,500 samples a week in the next two weeks. According to CNN, the CDC has provided funding to state health and university labs and has made contracts with private labs for sequencing.

Increased sequencing, Armstrong tells CNN, will better enable the agency to spot any new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Last month, officials in the UK noticed a new SARS-CoV-2 strain, called B.1.1.7, that appears to be more easily transmitted that has now been detected across the world, including in the US.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.