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As a syphilis epidemic raged in Europe beginning in the late 1400s, Science notes that some researchers suspect that Christopher Columbus or his crew may have brought the bacterium that causes it back from the Americas. Other Treponema pallidum subspecies, it notes, cause yaws and bejel, diseases that are known to have been circulating in the Americas prior to Columbus' arrival.

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Nature News writes that additional details about the UK plan for an agency to support high-risk, high-reward science are needed.

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized Johnson & Johnson's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

The Wall Street Journal writes new studies are giving glimpses into the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

In PLOS this week: analysis of Plasmodium population structure, qPCR assay to diagnose scabies, and more.