The U.S. has administered more than 68 million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 91 million doses have been distributed throughout the country. (Reuters)

A new COVID-19 variant is rapidly spreading in New York, researchers say. Two studies, one out of Caltech and the other out of Columbia University, found the B.1.526 variant to be mostly concentrated in Washington Heights and Inwood, but has surfaced in other parts of the city. (The New York Times)

Sarepta Therapeutic’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug, Amondys 45, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday. The drug targets the 8% of patients who have a mutation to the Duchenne gene. (STAT)

A new ad campaign to encourage Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out as one of the largest public education efforts in the nation’s history. The It’s Up to You campaign, spearheaded by the Ad Council, was launched Thursday across TV, social media and audio platforms. (The Washington Post)

Merck announced it will acquire Pandion Pharmaceuticals for $1.85 billion, aiming to add drug candidates targeting autoimmune diseases to its pipeline. Pandion’s lead therapy, PT101, showed initial success in treating ulcerative colitis in a Phase I trial. (Endpoints News)