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Too Fast

Governments — including the US and Russia — are expediting the use of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 are without solid scientific data to back them up, the Economist writes

It notes, for instance, that the US Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for hydroxychloroquine — a treatment touted by President Donald Trump — based on "limited in vitro and anecdotal clinical data" and that the EUA was later rescinded after studies showed hydroxychloroquine had no effect on COVID-19. 

More recently, the US issued an EUA for convalescent plasma therapy as a COVID-19 treatment, again with limited evidence, while Russia has authorized a COVID-19 vaccine that has yet to be fully tested, the Economist says. It notes that a concern is that these two approaches will also not pan out.

"That regulators move fast in emergencies is to be applauded," the Economist writes. "But these three examples have raised worries that sometimes they are moving too fast, and possibly for the wrong reasons."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.