April 20, 2021
AABB SmartBrief
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Top Story
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the US fell by 0.4% for the week ending April 18, following four consecutive weeks of increase, but the country still logged almost 70,000 new cases per day last week as variants continue to spread. The average number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 climbed by 5% to over 41,000, marking the third straight weeks of increase, while related fatalities dropped 2.8%.
Full Story: Reuters (4/19) 
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Science & Health
All US individuals ages 16 and older can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC, which said those with underlying medical conditions that raise the risk for serious complications should be given priority. Nearly 211.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the US as of Monday, with more than 85.3 million people now fully vaccinated.
Full Story: Reuters (4/19),  Reuters (4/20) 
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Industry News & Practice
Molecular diagnostics firm Chronix Biomedical has been acquired by Oncocyte. The acquisition should bring "a distinct competitive advantage as the first and only company to potentially offer a continuum of tests, from selecting patients for immune therapy treatment, to monitoring the effectiveness of the treatment," said Oncocyte CEO and President Ron Andrews.
Full Story: MassDevice (Boston) (4/19) 
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Adagio, which was spun out of Adimab last July, raised $336 million in a Series C round to develop engineered human antibodies that neutralize coronaviruses, including a candidate that is already in clinical trials for SARS-CoV-2. Antibodies have several advantages over injectable vaccines, including suitability for children and immunocompromised patients, and they can be used therapeutically or in combination with vaccines, says Chief Medical Officer Lynn Connolly.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (4/19) 
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Government & Regulatory
Curis' investigational drug CA-4948 was granted orphan drug status by the FDA as a treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. The drug is also being tested as a monotherapy as well as in combination with Janssen and Pharmacyclics' Imbruvica, or ibrutinib, as a treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/HemOnc Today (4/19) 
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Association News
AABB is celebrating Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, which began Sunday, with several ways to thank laboratory professionals. AABB will give away a $50 gift code to the AABB Store and other prizes to winners of the Association's MLPW social media giveaway. Individuals may register for a chance to win by visiting AABB's social media pages and sharing what led them to become medical laboratory professionals using the hashtag #AABBLabWeek. AABB will also offer a 10% discount on select laboratory-related publications and single-viewer eCasts in the AABB Store using the code LABWEEK21.
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April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.
Christopher Morley,
writer, editor, journalist
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