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A new viral variant of concern has been identified in New York City, the New York Times reports.

It says that two teams of researchers have homed in on the variant, called B.1.526, which has a mutation that may limit the effectiveness of vaccines. The Times adds that the variant was first noted among samples from the city in November and by mid-February the variant was about a quarter of all samples studied. 

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Nature News writes that viral genomic surveillance in the US faces systemic issues.

President Joe Biden is seeking an increase in federal spending, including higher budgets for the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A small, early-stage trial of a combination therapy for brain cancer reports favorable responses in two patients, according to the Guardian.

In PLOS this week: sex-stratified genome-wide association study of chronic pain, sequencing data from Indigenous Mexican groups, and more.