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Testing Twice a Week

England is to begin offering free rapid COVID-19 testing twice a week, NPR reports. It adds, though, that critics say such rapid testing has too high a false positive rate.

According to BBC News, lateral flow-based testing for COVID-19, which can provide a result in about half an hour, will be made available not only at testing sites, but also at pharmacies and through the mail. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says rapid testing in combination with vaccination efforts will help with the plan to ease pandemic-related restrictions there.

"[A]s we reopen society and resume parts of life we have all dearly missed, regular rapid testing is going to be fundamental in helping us quickly spot positive cases and squash any outbreaks," Health Secretary Matt Hancock says in a statement.

But as BBC News reports, critics note that when case rates are low, it can be difficult to distinguish between true and false positives on rapid tests and will lead to people having to self-isolate unnecessarily. Allyson Pollock, professor of public health at Newcastle University, tells the BBC that the mass-testing program is a "scandalous waste of money" and "is going to do more harm than good."

The Scan

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.

Clinical Trial Participants, Investigators Point to Importance of Clinical Trial Results Reporting in Canadian Study

Public reporting on clinical trial results is crucial, according to qualitative interviews with clinical trial participants, investigators, and organizers from three provinces appearing in BMJ Open.

Old Order Amish Analysis Highlights Autozygosity, Potential Ties to Blood Measures

Researchers in BMC Genomics see larger and more frequent runs-of-homozygosity in Old Order Amish participants, though only regional autozygosity coincided with two blood-based measures.

Suicidal Ideation-Linked Loci Identified Using Million Veteran Program Data

Researchers in PLOS Genetics identify risk variants within and across ancestry groups with a genome-wide association study involving veterans with or without a history of suicidal ideation.