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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

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.