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Not Getting Looked At

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to fewer US Food and Drug Administration inspections of drug companies, according to the New York Times.

It found that the agency inspected 52 pharmaceutical plants in the US between March and October 2020, as compared to 400 in the same timeframe in 2019. In addition, inspections of pharmaceutical plants abroad have largely been halted, it adds. The Times reports that this drop in inspections is due to pandemic safety guidelines limiting the travel of federal employees as well as pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Critics argue that inspections of drugmakers should be considered an essential activity and resume and say that the drop in inspections could lead to drug shortages and the delayed rollout of new drugs the Times reports. FDA officials tell it that the decreased number of inspections has not slowed drug approvals, but the Times notes that a number of pharmaceutical companies have issued statements regarding deferred FDA action on new drug applications.

Some drugmakers and others have proposed virtual inspections, though others reject that as inadequate, the Times adds.

The Scan

For Better Odds

Bloomberg reports that a child has been born following polygenic risk score screening as an embryo.

Booster Decision Expected

The New York Times reports the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine this week for individuals over 65 or at high risk.

Snipping HIV Out

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Temple University researchers are to test a gene-editing approach for treating HIV.

PLOS Papers on Cancer Risk Scores, Typhoid Fever in Colombia, Streptococcus Protection

In PLOS this week: application of cancer polygenic risk scores across ancestries, genetic diversity of typhoid fever-causing Salmonella, and more.