January 15, 2021
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Top Story
The US logged more than 200,000 new COVID-19 cases Thursday for the 10th day in a row, as well as more than 3,000 fatalities, bringing the total number of deaths to more than 388,000 since the pandemic started. New ensemble projections from the CDC predict the COVID-19 death toll could top 400,000 by the third week of January as hospitals and health systems struggle to keep up with the surge of patients with COVID-19.
Full Story: CNN (1/15) 
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Science & Health
An updated report by the CDC indicates that the total number of COVID-19 vaccines distributed as of Jan. 14 has reached 30,628,175 doses, while the number of first doses administered now stands at 11,148,991.
Full Story: Reuters (1/14) 
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Gottlieb: J&J's COVID-19 vaccine has good profile
(Justin Tallis/Getty Images)
Former FDA Commissioner and current Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb said data from Johnson & Johnson's early-stage trials for its single-dose coronavirus vaccine published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine showed a good profile and could indicate "we are probably going to have a third entrant here." Results showed that neutralizing antibodies were found in all participants who received the vaccine when they were tested after 57 days, and the company plans to launch the vaccine by March, with a goal of delivering 1 billion doses this year, said J&J Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels.
Full Story: The Hill (1/14),  PMLive (UK) (1/14) 
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Emerging Trends
Pregnant women with prolonged Zika viremia had a seven times greater risk for fetal or neonatal adverse outcomes versus pregnant women who did not have prolonged viremia, according to a study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/Infectious Disease News (1/14) 
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Industry News & Practice
Stefan Oelrich, the president of Bayer's pharmaceutical division, says Bayer will be able to help its recently acquired cell and gene therapy developers AskBio and BlueRock advance their treatments. Bayer's extensive chemical libraries and the autonomy given to its units should help the companies remain successful without losing their ability to innovate, Oelrich said.
Full Story: Endpoints News (free registration) (1/13) 
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A Series A financing round has raised $100 million for Delfi Diagnostics. The funds will be used to expand its team of machine learning experts and cancer researchers as well as to validate its next-generation blood-based cancer test.
Full Story: BioWorld (free content) (1/14) 
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Government & Regulatory
President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday proposed a plan to provide $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief, which would include $20 billion in funding for a national vaccine program, $350 billion for state and local governments, $50 billion for COVID-19 testing, and $170 billion for K-12 schools, colleges and universities. The American Rescue Plan would also provide $1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, boost federal unemployment benefits to $400 per week, raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and extend the eviction and foreclosure bans until the end of September.
Full Story: CNN (1/15),  The New York Times (1/15),  CNBC (1/14) 
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The FDA approved Pfizer's supplemental new drug application for Xalkori, or crizotinib, as a treatment for pediatric patients aged 12 months or older as well as young adults with refractory or relapsed, systemic ALK-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Full Story: Cure Today (1/14) 
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Association News
AABB is now accepting session proposals for the 2021 Annual Meeting, to be held Oct. 16-19, 2021. Presenting at the AABB Annual Meeting is a powerful way for members to help advance medicine and stand out as thought leaders in the blood and biotherapies community. AABB developed the 2021 AABB Annual Meeting Education Session Proposal Guide to assist individuals in preparing their proposal for submission. The submission deadline is Jan. 29.
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Monday
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
Melinda Gates,
philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
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