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Now Most UK Cases

Sharon Peacock, the director of COVID-19 Genomics UK, says the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2 has taken over there, Reuters reports.

Health officials in the UK sounded the alert about the B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant in December, and subsequent studies have suggested that the B.1.1.7 variant — which was first detected in the UK in September 2020, according to Reuters — is about 50 percent more transmissible than previous viral variants and a recent study has suggested it may also be more deadly.

In an online briefing for the Royal Society of Medicine, Peacock said the B.1.1.7 variant is now widespread in the UK, according to Reuters. "We now know that it has spread across the UK and causes nearly all of the cases of COVID-19 — about 98 percent," she said. "It appears to be the case that the other variants are not getting a foothold in this country."

Reuters notes that the B.1.1.7 variant has since been uncovered in countries around the world, including the US. Peacock added that she expects the variant will expand quickly wherever it is found, according to Reuters.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.