Sidra Medicine ‘test’ to aid the call for immunity passports

Scientists at Qatar Foundation’s Sidra Medicine are working on developing a better antibody test that provides more detailed information than existing commercial assays for Covid-19 antibodies.

This is expected to make life easier during the pandemic times by identifying and certifying people who have developed immunity to the virus, making them safer candidates for travel and work.
“Immunity passports” is a huge area of interest for governments and researchers alike .The idea is that someone who has already recovered from Covid-19 develops antibodies to the virus that will remain in their body for at least a few months. This means they are much less likely to be re-infected and develop symptoms from the virus, making them safer candidates for travel and work.
However, the use of immunity passports has been hampered partly by inaccurate testing. A false positive antibody test in a person who is not immune may lead that individual to believe that they are immune and engage in high-risk activities that may lead to a true infection. A false negative antibody test may cause an individual, who is already immune, to be unnecessarily re-screened for the virus for travel or work-related purposes.
The test that scientists at Sidra Medicine are working looks at multiple types of antibodies against the different protein components of the Covid-19 virus, as well as against the other common human coronaviruses.
The test is also high-throughput and, because it has been developed locally, less expensive than all commercially available tests. The preliminary results show that the test developed by Sidra Medicine is much more accurate than the currently available antibody tests and provides more detailed information about each person’s immune response.
But does this mean that those who test positive for antibodies against other coronaviruses could also be immune to Covid-19? Or potentially face milder symptoms or be asymptomatic? “That’s the million-dollar question,” says Dr Jean-Charles Grivel, director at the Deep Phenotyping Core at Sidra Medicine whose team is working on the new serology assay.
“There are seven human coronaviruses. Our assay measures reactivity against all of them, unlike most commercial assays. We are working with other entities in Qatar to figure out if antibodies to other coronaviruses impacts immunity and how it affects the clinical trajectory of infected patients.”
Dr Grivel’s team at the Deep Phenotyping Core consists of Igor Pavlovski and Selma Maacha who have been instrumental in conducting the research for Sidra Medicine’s serological tests.
Dr Patrick Tang, division chief, Pathology Sciences at Sidra Medicine said that if this test can be applied to a larger population, it would definitely improve the accuracy of the results.
“Commercially available serology tests have an accuracy rate of about 85 to 90%. If we had a more accurate serology test, we have a greater degree of assurance about who is immune and not likely to become symptomatic if exposed to the virus again. This would mean that these people would be safe for customer-facing duties, or to travel or participate in public gatherings and

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Parents accuse Bedford, N.S., dentist of malpractice, call for licence to be revoked

Parents in Nova Scotia are accusing a dentist in Bedford, N.S., of malpractice while doing dental work on their children and are calling for his licence to be revoked.

a car parked in front of a house: Granville Dental in Bedford is seen on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.

© Graeme Benjamin/Global News
Granville Dental in Bedford is seen on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.

Ryan Binder from Glace Bay, N.S., says his six-year-old daughter had a referral from the Mayflower Mall Dentist in Sydney to Granville Dental in Bedford, N.S., to get a tooth removed.

Binder says he wasn’t able to attend the Tuesday appointment, as he was working, so his mother attended for him.

“She started screaming during the appointment, and my mother went to the secretary and said, is that Peyton screaming?” said Binder.

Read more: Avoid routine dental visits amid coronavirus uncertainty, WHO says

Binder says his mother wasn’t allowed inside the room during the treatment. He claims the dentist, Dr. Errol Gaum, wasn’t letting his daughter breathe because he was holding her nose during the treatment, restricting her breathing.

“She was screaming for my mother and Dr. Gaum told her to ‘shut up’ and sad that ‘your grandmother is gone,’” said Binder. “My mother was so upset, then my fiancé told me ‘you need to get home now.’

“(My daughter) came up to me crying, she said ‘daddy, you said I was going to be OK. You were wrong, daddy.”

That’s when he decided to post about the experience on Facebook, which has since garnered thousands of shares.

Stephanie Walsh of Lower Sackville, N.S., says her son had a similar experience with Dr. Gaum back in August. She says her son was referred to him after it was determined he needed new caps.

“They advised me that I was not allowed to be in the room with him. I need to be in the waiting room, or I could wait in the van,” said Walsh, “which I thought was bizarre.”

“I carried him to the room, put him in the chair, they closed the door behind me and I sat in the waiting room and waited for what felt like an eternity while I listened to him scream in agony the entire time.”

In a statement to Global News, the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia said they are “aware of the recent concern posted on Facebook.  The Board is currently looking further into this matter.”

“Individuals wishing to make a formal complaint about a dentist should file one directly with the Board by mail or on its website,” said Dr. Curtis Gregoire, deputy registrar of the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia, in the statement.

Video: Nova Scotia dentists feeling pinch of COVID-19 pandemic

Halifax Regional Police also confirmed that they received a complaint about Dr. Gaum on Tuesday.

“At this point we have one report of this particular incident, but it’s important that we conduct our investigations and we make sure that we look into them thoroughly,” said Halifax police spokesperson Const. John MacLeod.

Dr. Gaum declined an interview with Global News, but his

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Harrington Discovery Institute At University Hospitals And Case Western Reserve School Of Medicine Open Call For 2021 Harrington-MSTP Scholar Award

CLEVELAND, Nov. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have issued a call for proposals for the 2021 Harrington-MSTP (Medical Scientist Training Program) Scholar Award to help the next generation of physician-scientists advance their discoveries into breakthrough medicines. This program is a two-year scholarship for MSTP students at the School of Medicine whose work has been identified as innovative, creative and having potential to progress towards clinical application.

Since its founding in 2012, Harrington Discovery Institute–part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development–has supported 137 drugs-in-the-making in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. Core to its mission, Harrington Discovery Institute recognizes and supports inventive physician-scientists through dedicated programs, including the global Harrington Prize (partnered with The American Society for Clinical Investigation), North American Scholar-Innovator Award, and the Cleveland, Ohio-based Harrington Investigator programs. With this program, now in its second year, the Institute has expanded its model to include the next generation of physician-scientists early in their career.

Through this award, Harrington Discovery Institute and the School of Medicine combine resources and capabilities to advance into new medicines the most promising research of Case MSTP students. Awardees will receive grant funding and dedicated therapeutic development support from Harrington Discovery Institute’s Therapeutics Development team, who are pharma-experienced industry leaders with a track record of bringing drugs to market.

“We are committed to helping physician-scientists improve the standard of care and address unmet needs in healthcare through their research. This program helps students take promising scientific discoveries and chart a path forward that maximizes potential for clinical success. Now more than ever, it is essential that we help close the gap between breakthroughs in the lab and much-needed treatments for patients. We are pleased to work closely with Case Western Reserve University to provide this opportunity,” said Jonathan S. Stamler, MD, President, Harrington Discovery Institute, Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Family Foundation Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Innovation and Professor of Medicine at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University.

“This program provides tremendous value for the students selected, which they will carry with them throughout their careers. In working with former pharma executives, awardees are able to build new skills and gain a broader understanding of their research in relation to industry. The Case MSTP program has always focused on cultivating an innovation mindset with our students and providing them with the tools necessary for a successful career,” said Derek Abbott, MD, PhD, Program Director, Medical Scientist Training Program, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

Interested applicants from Case Western Reserve University’s MSTP program are asked to submit a Letter of Intent by December 7, 2020. Up to two award recipients will be selected and announced in spring 2021. For more information, visit:

Harrington Discovery Institute

The Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, OH — part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development — aims to advance

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Fitness industry bosses call for post-lockdown VAT relief and say: ‘We are an essential service’


itness industry bosses have called for additional sector-specific support and attacked the Government’s approach to the leisure industry as “a disgrace” as the new lockdown came into force.

Under the latest Covid-19 restrictions implemented on Thursday, hairdressers, beauty businesses and gyms were classified as “non-essential” services alongside segments of retail and required to close until December 2.

Any business which defies the rules could be fined up to £10,000.  

The Standard spoke to some of London’s fitness industry leaders, who said they are furious the Government chose to close them down. 

They said that many gyms will not be able to survive the shutdown, and argued fitness centres that have put in place measures to ensure they are Covid-secure should be allowed to remain open to help the nation stay mentally and physically healthy.


Gyms had reopened over the summer

/ PA )

It comes amid reports that some gyms around the country have even vowed to stay open, risking the £10,000 fine.

Colin Waggett, chief executive of luxury gym group Third Space – which has more than 20,000 members across its six London gyms – said the group had lost several million pounds since March, and that the new lockdown will see losses extended further.

Waggett is calling on the Government to offer the fitness industry the same VAT relief offered to the hospitality sector.

He said: “Their cost base is very similar to ours.

“We simply do not understand given all of our earlier comments why that support has not been made available for our sector too.

“We are now going to need the rent moratorium extended again, rates relief extended beyond the end of March and the same VAT relief that hospitality has had throughout 2021, so we can all clear the huge debts we have accumulated and get back on our feet.


Third Space operate six gyms around London

/ Third Space )

“The alternative is a wave of closures, job losses, and a loss of much loved and needed gyms and studios for the population of London.”

Sandy Macaskill, founder of bootcamp specialist Barry’s UK, concurred with his fellow gym boss.

He said that “most gyms made zero revenue for over four months” during the first lockdown, and that despite Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s extension of the furlough scheme to March 31, he knows many will be financially devastated by the latest restrictions. 

“We can’t do takeaways,” he said. “The government’s approach to the leisure industry has been a disgrace from the outset.

“While on the one hand Boris Johnson has spoken about the importance of staying fit in fighting the virus, the Government have repeatedly insulted the sector, first by reopening pubs before gyms, then by reducing VAT on fast food joints with no [specific] relief for our industry.”


Third Space CEO Colin Waggett was also behind Psycle

/ Daniel Hambury )

Several gym operators argued that since reopening over the summer gyms have not been found to be behind significant

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Editas Medicine, Inc. (EDIT) Q3 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Editas Medicine, Inc. (NASDAQ: EDIT)
Q3 2020 Earnings Call
Nov 5, 2020, 5:00 p.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Good afternoon and welcome to Editas Medicine’s third Quarter 2020 Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] There will be a question-and-answer session at the end of this call. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to turn the call over to Mark Mullikin, Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations at Editas Medicine.

Mark J. MullikinVice President of Finance and Investor Relations

Thank you, operator. Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our 3rd quarter 2020 conference call. Earlier this afternoon, we issued a press release providing our financial results and corporate updates for the third quarter of 2020. A replay of today’s call will be available on the Investors section of our website approximately two hours after its completion. After our prepared remarks, we will open the call for Q&A. As a reminder, various remarks that we make during this call about the Company’s future expectatinos, plans, and prospects constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the Safe Harbor provisions under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including those discussed in the Risk Factors section of our most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q, which is on file with the SEC. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our views only as of today, and should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date. Except as required by law, we specifically disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, even if our views change.

Now, I will turn the call over to our Chief Executive Officer, Cindy Collins.

Cynthia CollinsPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Mark. Good afternoon and thank you everyone for joining us for our corporate update call for the third quarter of 2020. In addition to Mark, I am joined by Charles Albright, our Chief Scientific Officer; and Michelle Robertson, our Chief Financial Officer. Our progress during the third quarter has laid an important foundation for the advancement of our best-in-class in vivo and ex vivo CRISPR medicine pipeline. We resumed dosing in the BRILLIANCE Phase 1/2 trial, the first clinical trial of an in vivo CRISPR medicine, while advancing our engineered cell medicines to treat sickle cell disease and cancer toward the clinic. Starting with our in vivo programs, regaining full operating control of our ocular programs through our new agreement with AbbVie, provides us with valuable flexibility as we work to strategically advance our pipeline. We have transferred the CRO contracts and the IND for the Phase 1/2 BRILLIANCE trial of EDIT-101 for LCA10 back to Editas, and we plan to finish transferring CMC activities in the fourth quarter. We are pleased to report that we have completed dosing of the first cohort in BRILLIANCE

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Dr. Deborah Birx’s stern warning is a wakeup call

Dr. Deborah Birx has a dire warning for Americans: The Covid-19 pandemic is going to get much, much worse before it gets any better. And there’s one clear takeaway from her warnings: whatever happens on election day, we’re largely on our own. It’s up to us to keep the number of Covid-19 infections as low as possible as we head into a difficult season that will last far beyond the results of the 2020 election.

a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx speaks during a news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on May 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced news CDC guidelines that churches and places of worship are essential and must reopen now. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

© Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 22: White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx speaks during a news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on May 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced news CDC guidelines that churches and places of worship are essential and must reopen now. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

According to the Washington Post, Birx, one of the White House’s most senior coronavirus advisers, issued her warning in an internal memo on November 2, saying that “We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality.” And the White House, she wrote, is not doing enough: “This is not about lockdowns — it hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”

The President has been singing a different tune. Just days before the election, Donald Trump repeated a claim he made during the last presidential debate and told Iowans that the United States was “rounding the corner” on the pandemic. He has been holding huge campaign rallies in direct violation of public health guidelines advising against large gatherings. He is typically seen in public without a mask, refusing to model the kind of behavior that helps to keep the virus from spreading and saves lives.

Americans should heed Birx’s warnings — and not emulate the President’s recklessness. Birx warns that the US could see more than 100,000 new cases per day this week. As people get sicker and hospitals fill up, we could see a return to the dire situation from the spring, when hospitals were beyond capacity and doctors were talking about rationing ventilators. And like in the spring, Europe is a harbinger of what’s to come — they’re already seeing soaring infection rates, prompting more lockdowns and emergency measures.

This next wave of the pandemic will be fueled by a perfect storm. As temperatures drop, the outdoor gatherings that sustained so many of our social lives through the summer will become increasingly untenable. Many cities and states have relaxed their rules, allowing indoor dining again and sending some people back into the office. The holidays are coming up, with American families typically gathering indoors for Thanksgiving at the end of the month; Christmas is just a month after that, followed by the revelry of New Years Eve. And many of us are experiencing a kind of Covid fatigue, letting down our guards and underestimating our risk.

That’s all understandable. Many

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In A Small Pennsylvania City, A Mental Crisis Call To 911 Turns Tragic : Shots

Rulennis Munoz (center right) outside Lancaster Courthouse Oct. 14, after learning that the police officer who fatally shot her brother had been cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the Lancaster County District Attorney. Her mother, Miguelina Peña, and her attorney Michael Perna (far right) stood by.

Brett Sholtis/WITF

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Brett Sholtis/WITF

Rulennis Muñoz remembers the phone ringing on Sept. 13. Her mother was calling from the car, frustrated. Rulennis could also hear her brother Ricardo shouting in the background. Her mom told her that Ricardo, who was 27, wouldn’t take his medication. He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia five years earlier.

Ricardo lived with his mother in Lancaster, Pa., but earlier that day he had been over at Rulennis’ house across town. Rulennis remembers that her brother had been having what she calls “an episode” that morning. Ricardo had become agitated because his phone charger was missing. When she found it for him, he insisted it wasn’t the same one.

Rulennis knew that her brother was in crisis and that he needed psychiatric care. But she also knew from experience that there were few emergency resources available for Ricardo unless a judge deemed him a threat to himself or others.

After talking with her mom, Rulennis called a county crisis intervention line to see if Ricardo could be committed for inpatient care. It was Sunday afternoon. The crisis worker told her to call the police to see if the officers could petition a judge to force Ricardo to go to the hospital for psychiatric treatment, in what’s called an involuntary commitment. Reluctant to call 911, and wanting more information, Rulennis dialed the non-emergency police number.

Meanwhile, her mother, Miguelina Peña, was back in her own neighborhood. Her other daughter, Deborah, lived only a few doors down. Peña started telling Deborah what was going on. Ricardo was becoming aggressive; he had punched the inside of the car. Back on their block, he was still yelling and upset, and couldn’t be calmed. Deborah called 911 to get help for Ricardo. She didn’t know that her sister was trying the non-emergency line.

The problems and perils of calling 911 for help with mental health

A recording and transcript of the 911 call show that the dispatcher gave Deborah three options: police, fire or ambulance. Deborah wasn’t sure, so she said “police.” Then she went on to explain that Ricardo was being aggressive, had a mental illness and needed to go to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Ricardo had moved on, walking up the street to where he and his mother lived. When the dispatcher questioned Deborah further, she also mentioned that Ricardo was trying “to break into” his mom’s house. She didn’t mention that Ricardo also lived in that house. She did mention that her mother “was afraid” to go back home with him.

The Muñoz family has since emphasized that Ricardo was never a threat to them. However, by the time police got the message, they believed they were responding to

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Advocates, restaurants call for extension of meals program

BERLIN, Vt. (AP) — Advocates for a program that uses federal coronavirus relief money to distribute free restaurant-made meals intended for people in need during the pandemic and to help those eateries stay afloat are calling for the program to be funded past mid-December.

The statewide Everyone Eats program offers restaurants financial support to cook healthy meals for the community, said Sue Minter, executive director of Capstone Community Action on Thursday.

In three months, $1.5 million has been allocated to the industry, allowing over 100 restaurants to prepare 150,000 meals distributed around the state — but the funding ends in December, she said at a press event at Central Vermont Medical Center, where 200 meals are given out weekly.

“Seven months into the pandemic hunger in Vermont is increasing,” Minter said. “And the impact of unemployment and the unfolding economic disruption is intensifying. And Vermonters are rising to the challenge together.”

One in four Vermonters now face food insecurity, compared to one in 10 before March, she said.

The pandemic has also had a dramatic impact on the state’s hospitality industry, particularly restaurants, which are now “on life support,” she said.

Cornerstone Pub & Kitchen, in Barre, provides 200 free meals each Thursday through the program, said owner Rich McSheffrey.

“I can’t stress enough the significance of it, I can’t stress enough the impact of it, and I definitely will say that if this program has any possibility of extending then it’s definitely in the best interest,” he said.

He believes ending the program in the winter is senseless, he said.

“It seems very stressful to me to think that so many people with food insecurities and so many people that are hungry are going to have a program stopped in Vermont in the winter,” he said.

In other developments related to the coronavirus on Thursday:



Less than half of an $8 million COVID-19 pandemic relief program for people and small businesses behind on their utility bills has been used, and the state is encouraging those eligible to apply.

The Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program can help with past-due bills to keep the lights on, water flowing, and heat running as winter approaches.

“We only have six weeks left to essentially spend the full $8 million,” Riley Allen, deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service told on Wednesday.

Allen estimates that the total amount of unpaid bills in the state is much larger than what’s been awarded so far, the station reported.



St. Michael’s College in Colchester is going to all remote classes after six positive cases of the coronavirus were detected in the latest round of surveillance testing. All the cases were asymptomatic.

In a message posted Thursday on the college’s website, college President Lorraine Sterritt said that, out of an abundance of caution, the school would move to all-remote classes and all in-person activities are suspended through the weekend. Dining will be takeout-only.



Vermont reported 15

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Senators call for pause to Army’s new Combat Fitness Test

Oct. 21 (UPI) — Two senators said Wednesday they have called for a delay in implementing the U.S. Army’s Combat Fitness Test, citing a possible detriment to creating a diverse force.

A letter signed by Sen. Kristin Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., sent a letter to the chairman and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees warning that rollout of the revised test was premature and deserved additional study.

“Significant concerns have been raised regarding the data used to develop the test, initial test scores, and logistical issues,” the senators wrote. “The ACFT will determine the career path and success of all soldiers currently serving, yet many information gaps and unknowns remain.”

It suggested that the ACFT could adversely impact soldiers’ professional prospects, upset recruitment efforts and disproportionally affect women in the Army, and noted that few women were included in early testing groups.

“In 2019, the Army identified the six events of the ACFT and began conducting field tests within 63 battalions across the organization,” the senators wrote. “Preliminary data was leaked showing an overall failure rate of 84 percent for females and 30 percent for males within these battalions.”

The test is an attempt by the Army to establish effective but gender-neutral standards for soldiers’ fitness and readiness, and replaces Army previous fitness tests which clearly displayed a bias but were less rigorous.

Six events are involved in the new test, including a dead lift, weighted ball throw and a “leg tuck,” in which soldiers lift themselves up from a pullup bar using their arm, core and leg muscles.

The leg tuck is largely responsible for the 65 percent failure rate for women and the 10 percent failure rate for men.

The letter from Gillibrand and Blumenthal cited a University of Iowa study that showing that the removal of the leg-tuck could significantly improve success rates. The letter said the leg tuck is “the same event which has no proven predictive value to military occupation.”

It also noted that the previously used Army Physical Fitness Test required no equipment other than a stopwatch, while “the ACFT requires approximately $3,000 worth of equipment to put one individual through the test.”

Gillibrand and Blumenthal added that the test is irrelevant, and possibly damaging, to the careers of Army lawyers, cybersecurity specialists and other non-combat enlistees.

The senators recommend that the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act include a provision allowing Congress to delay use of the ACFT until it is independently reviewed.

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Senators ask for pause on Army’s new fitness test, call it ‘premature’

Two senators are asking for a delay in the Army’s implementation of its new combat fitness test, or ACFT, pending an independent study of how it will effect critical career fields and soldiers deployed to austere outposts.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., asked in a letter sent Tuesday to the House and Senate armed services committees for the ACFT roll-out to be paused and studied.

“We acknowledge that the ACFT 2.0 is a work in progress, but we have considerable concerns regarding the negative impact it may already be having on so many careers,” the senators said in the letter, a copy of which was provided to Army Times. “It is imperative that we pause implementation until all questions and concerns are answered.”

The six-event ACFT is a noticeably more difficult test than that which it replaces, with higher failure rates recorded among women. The increased difficultly is often attributed to the ACFT’s emphasis on core and upper body strength through exercises like the deadlift and hanging leg-tuck.

Army cadets perform the three-repetition deadlift, the first of the six events of the Army Combat Fitness Test. (Eric Bartelt/Army)

The letter, first reported by the Washington Post, noted that Army data shows “a consistent” 65 percent failure rate for women and 10 percent failure rate for men. The letter cited a University of Iowa study that showed eliminating the leg-tuck would significantly reduce failure rates.

Gillibrand and Blumenthal said there are “significant concerns” regarding the data used to develop the ACFT that trace back to a study conducted several years ago.

That study demonstrated the leg-tuck was not a significant predictive variable of how a soldier would perform their duties, but was still included in the six-event test regardless. The study’s test group also underrepresented women, the senators added, with the average participant being a 24-year-old man.

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