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Picture of Health

Alphabet's Verily is seeking 10,000 healthy people to enroll in its Baseline Project, the Verge reports.

The project aims to generate a picture of what a healthy person looks like by collecting genetic data, blood samples, imaging, and more from 10,000 participants over the course of four years. The Verge notes that that additional information could include environmental data, phone surveys, and data from sensors in a newly announced smartwatch. The firm has previously conducted a pilot version of the project involving about 200 people and has partnered with researchers at Duke and Stanford universities.

From this data, Verily aims to also uncover signs of nascent disease that could enable earlier treatment, the Verge adds. Data generated through the project will be available to qualified researchers and may be made available to researchers at pharmaceutical companies, the Verge reports.

"At this stage, it's too early to speculate about what public good might come from Project Baseline, though it does seem likely there will be advantages to the work, it adds. "It's even possible that Project Baseline will be as useful to research as Framingham [Heart Study] was 50 years ago."

The Scan

Omicron's Emergence

The World Health Organization has called Omicron a SARS-CoV-2 "variant of concern," the Los Angeles Times writes.

Not as Much

Merck's pill to treat COVID-19 reduces the risk of hospitalization and death among COVID-19 patients by less than previously reported, the New York Times says.

Bats That Hang Together

Discover magazine writes that researchers have found a social microbiome among vampire bats.

PLOS Papers on CEWAS, Simian Varicella Virus Transcriptome, Dermatomyositis Markers

In PLOS this week: multi-omic approach to home in on genetic risk variants, transcriptomic analysis of the simian varicella virus, and more.