The Daily Dose: China passes gene editing law; Japan warns of a Philippine COVID-19 variant.

Yesterday, one chapter of the opioid crisis drew one step closer to resolution. Per STAT, “In a move that could spell the end of Purdue Pharma, the company has filed a bankruptcy plan calling for the family that owns the infamous drug maker to relinquish control and pay nearly $4.3 billion to reimburse states, cities, and tribes for the costs associated with the long-running opioid crisis in the U.S. The plan, which was filed late Monday night in a federal bankruptcy court in New York, is designed to end nearly 3,000 lawsuits that blamed Purdue for helping to spark a wave of prescription abuse, addictions, and deaths over the past two decades.” Needless to say, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Fentanyl overdoses continue to kill people across the country.

Recently, the Chinese Communist Party passed a host of new laws designed to reinforce national stability. One of the laws directly affects the local scientific community and, by extension, the world. Per Sixth Tone, “Scientists, too, have reason to brush up on their legal knowledge: A new section dedicated to ‘illegal medical practices’ was added beneath Article 336, outlawing ‘the implantation of genetically edited or cloned human embryos into human or animal bodies, or the implantation of genetically edited or cloned animal embryos into human bodies.’” Clearly, this law was written with geneticist He Jiankui in mind.

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Authorities in Japan have expressed concern about a SARS-Cov-2 variant they claim originates in the Philippines. Per the Japan Times, “A man who arrived in Japan from the Philippines in February was infected with a new variant of the novel coronavirus, the health ministry said Friday, in the first confirmation of such a case. The variant is distinct from those first discovered in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, and is thought to pose a similar threat. The Philippine variant may be more resistant to neutralizing antibodies, including those gained through vaccination, like the South African and Brazilian variants appear to be.” Safe to say, there will be more variants from just about every country with a COVID-19 outbreak.

While we’re on the topic of the Philippines… They’ve been struggling with on-again-off-again outbreaks, mostly in the country’s densely populated capital. Per Asia One, “The Philippine capital Manila will widen a ban on minors leaving their residences to include youths of up to 18 years old for two weeks starting on Wednesday (March 17), tightening coronavirus restrictions in a bid to tackle a new surge of infections. Only those aged 18 – 65 years old will be allowed out of their homes, the Metro Manila Development Authority said in a statement, citing an agreement among mayors.” The government is also considering mandating mask wearing inside people’s houses. How they’d enforce that is anyone’s guess.

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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