Science policy news weekly update: January 13, 2017

The ASBMB’s Public Affairs Department encourages all readers of the Policy Blotter to alert the office about interesting and relevant articles. Please send tips to astothert@asbmb.org.

What’s new in Blotter news?

The ASBMB’s policy analyst, André Porter, discusses how science would benefit from separating federally funded research and politics.

We must shield federally funded research from politics

 

Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised that his version of America would be drastically different than that of the current president’s. However, despite their many differences on matters ranging from national security to health insurance, the two share some continuity in their views on medicine, science and public health, writes Dylan Scott for STAT.

Obama vs. Trump: 5 ways they clash — or don’t — on health and science (STAT)

Despite Trump’s inauguration being a week away, the scientific community remains in the dark about who will head the nation’s largest medical research entity, the National Institutes of Health. However, this week, Trump met with U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., whose name has been mentioned as a possible candidate, and current NIH Director Francis Collins, who has stated that, if asked, he would remain as director. These meetings indicate that the new administration is beginning to turn its attention to the medical research community.

Rep. Andy Harris met with Trump to discuss medical research (Baltimore Sun)

This week, federal officials released a guidance plan to aid U.S. agencies that are deciding whether or not to fund controversial virus studies. The studies, termed gain-of-function virus studies, aim to make certain viruses more transmissible in humans or give these viruses increased ability to cause sickness or death. The idea behind these studies is to help experts prepare for future pandemics, allowing researchers to quickly develop vaccines or cures during outbreaks. Although the new guidance provides no timelines to implement a review process for these risky studies, many in the scientific community feel that this will finally end the moratorium that has kept numerous viral studies on hold for the past couple of years.

White House announces review process for risky virus studies (Science)

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