Jane Qiu, a freelance science writer based in Beijing, published an overview of her efforts to investigate the lab-leak theory for the origin of COVID-19. In another update, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on February 15 to discuss an amended Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 4 years of age.
Johnson & Johnson is expected to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize a booster for the company’s one-shot Covid-19 vaccine this week. In other news, President Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC that they expect the FDA to review data on Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ new oral antiviral against Covid-19 “as quickly as they possibly can.”
AbbVie announced the company’s latest chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell investment, a collaboration with Caribou Biosciences worth $40 million up front in cash and equity to develop two CRISPR-edited cell therapies against AbbVie-specified targets.
A study of Fitbit wearers concludes that almost 50 percent of Covid-19 cases can be detected a day before enrollees in the study reported the onset of symptoms, and with 70 percent specificity.
Researchers at the The Scripps Research Institute found that the strains spreading so quickly in Europe and the U.S. have a mutated S “spike” protein that makes it about 10 times more infectious than the strain that originally was identified in Asia.