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Second SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Authorized in US

The US Food and Drug Administration granted on Friday an Emergency Use Authorization for Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, the New York Times reports. This, it adds, is the second SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to receive authorization in the US, as one from Pfizer and BioNTech was authorized a week earlier.

Last month, Moderna announced that its mRNA-based vaccine had an efficacy of 94.5 percent and, last week, a briefing report from the FDA suggested the agency was in favor of authorizing the vaccine and an advisory panel to the FDA then voted in favor of doing so. The EUA came shortly thereafter.

"With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day," FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn says in a statement.

The Times adds that the authorization has spurred the distribution of 5.9 million doses of the vaccine, the delivery of which will be managed by the federal government under Operation Warp Speed.

The Scan

Dropped Charges

The US Justice Department has dropped visa fraud charges against five Chinese researchers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More Kids

The Associated Press says Moderna is expanding its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine study to included additional children and may include even younger children.

PNAS Papers on Rat Clues to Human Migration, Thyroid Cancer, PolyG-DS

In PNAS this week: ancient rat genome analysis gives hints to human migrations, WDR77 gene mutations in thyroid cancer, and more.

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.