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Prion Pause to Investigate

A three-month moratorium on prion research has been instituted at public research institutions in France after a retired lab worker was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Science reports.

It adds that an investigation is underway to determine whether the individual, who worked at the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment, contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob at work.

According to Science, a previous lab accident at INRAE led to the 2019 death of Émilie Jaumain. She died 10 years after pricking her thumb while working with prion-infected mice, it adds, noting that the link between her accident and death was largely clear as she had variant CJD, which has essentially disappeared from Europe. Her family has brought both criminal charges and an administrative suit against the lab, it says. Science adds that Jaumain's death led to the tightening of safety rules at prion labs.

It notes that more information is needed to determine whether the newly affected individual has vCJD or classic CJD, which it notes can occur sporadically.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.