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An RNAi Approval

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Alnylam's Onpattro, an RNAi-based therapy, Stat News reports.

"This approval is part of a broader wave of advances that allow us to treat disease by actually targeting the root cause, enabling us to arrest or reverse a condition, rather than only being able to slow its progression or treat its symptoms," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says in a statement. "In this case, the effects of the disease cause a degeneration of the nerves, which can manifest in pain, weakness, and loss of mobility."

The agency approved Onpattro (patisiran) for the treatment of peripheral nerve disease in adults with hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis, a condition in which amyloid protein builds up in nerves, the heart, and other organs. This scope, Stat News notes, is narrower than what European regulators described, as it doesn't encompass the drug's effect on cardiac damage caused by the condition.

"Until today, there were no approved medications to treat these patients in the United States," Alnylam CEO John Maraganore said on a conference call, according to Stat News. "We do look forward to working with the FDA to expand the Onpattro label in the future."

Stat News adds the annual average list price of the drug will be $450,000.

The Scan

Panel Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for Kids

CNN reports that the US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted in favor of authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old.

Sharing How to Make It

Merck had granted a royalty-free license for its COVID-19 treatment to the Medicines Patent Pool, according to the New York Times.

Bring it Back In

Bloomberg reports that a genetic analysis has tied a cluster of melioidosis cases in the US to a now-recalled aromatherapy spray.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on SomaMutDB, VThunter, SCovid Databases

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database of somatic mutations in normal tissue, viral receptor-related expression signatures, and more.