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More Sequences Needed

Despite quickly sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 when it first emerged, Quanta magazine writes that the world is not sequencing enough additional COVID-19 samples.

In December, it notes that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, said countries needed to step up their sequencing efforts, and that the European Union called on its members to sequence at least 5 percent of their COVID-19-positive samples and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention likewise set a goal of sequencing 5 percent of positive cases. But, according to Quanta, most countries are falling short. For instance, it notes that the US has sequenced less than 2 percent of its cases, while Brazil and India have sequenced 0.1 percent of their cases.

By falling behind, Quanta says officials might not be able to spot new variants early. "The more large gaps in our knowledge of the variants circulating globally, the more likely we are to miss the evolution of an important variant and find ourselves taking backward steps in the fight to control the pandemic," Justin O'Grady, the former deputy director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium and new senior director of translational applications at Oxford Nanopore, tells it.

Quanta adds that the US, India, and several countries in Africa are working to bolster their sequencing efforts.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.