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Variant Vaccine Push

GlaxoSmithKline and CureVac have teamed up in a €150 million ($180 million) collaboration to develop an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine against multiple viral variants, Reuters reports.

SARS-CoV-2 viral variants have been identified in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil, with some initial studies suggesting that existing vaccines may be less effective against the South African one. 

According to the companies, they will build on CureVac's current mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV, to develop additional candidates — using both multivalent and monovalent approaches — with the goal of providing protection against a range of SARS-CoV-2 variants. Bloomberg adds that GSK and CureVac plan to have this candidate vaccine ready by 2022. It notes that GSK is also to manufacture 100 million doses of CureVac's current candidate vaccine, CVnCoV, which is Phase 2b/3 testing.

"We believe that next-generation vaccines will be crucial in the continued fight against COVID-19," Emma Walmsley, CEO of GSK, says in a statement.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.