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In this week’s episode of the “First Opinion Podcast,” STAT’s Patrick Skerrett talks with journalist, historian, and author Walter Isaacson about his First Opinion, “CRISPR rivals put patents aside to help in the fight against Covid-19.” It was adapted from Isaacson’s latest book, “The Code Breaker,” about the revolutionary gene editing tool known as CRISPR and the transcontinental rivalry it spawned.

This conversation has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.


Your First Opinion essay shows a different side of this race with the rival teams of Feng Zhang and Jennifer Doudna — working separately, of course — developing CRISPR-based home tests for Covid-19 and then putting that work into the public domain. What do you think prompted that shift?

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