As the two-year anniversary of the pandemic approaches, a new commentary provides insights into reforming the “labyrinth of conflicting and uncoordinated actions among state and federal regulators” that in early 2020 hampered Seattle researchers from community testing for COVID-19. The commentary, written by members of the Brotman Baty Institute (BBI), the research collaboration among UW Medicine, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center,…
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President Joe Biden’s administration last week ordered federal agencies to draft uniform policies describing the outside sources of funding that scientists must disclose when they apply for federal grants, and the penalties for failing to do so. Research groups welcome the directive, but wish it had also specified what kinds of foreign collaborations might get a scientist in trouble. The…
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Many researchers who are funded from public sources are required to participate in national evaluations of their work. Such assessments are popular with governments because they help to ensure a degree of accountability for taxpayer cash. Funders like them, too, because they provide a useful benchmark for the standard of research being done. Universities also benefit financially when they write…
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Elizabeth Holmes, the infamous biotech chief executive who promised to revolutionize blood testing, has been found guilty of fraud. The Theranos founder intentionally deceived investors, a US federal jury concluded yesterday after a nearly four-month trial. Holmes probably faces up to 20 years in prison and a hefty fine. She has not yet been sentenced. The case will no doubt…
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To address health disparities and facilitate increasingly personalized treatments, we need to develop new models for basic and disease research that reflect diverse ancestral backgrounds and sex, and ensure that diverse populations are included among donors and research participants. The power of science, a long-time cornerstone of disease mitigation, has been on public display during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in…
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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been asking ethical questions about vaccinating children against the disease: Is it necessary to vaccinate children, who seem to experience the disease differently than adults? Should children in school be required to get the vaccine? Seattle Children’s spoke to Dr. Doug Diekema, an emergency medicine physician at Seattle Children’s and director of education in the Treuman…
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Why COVID-19 Makes It Harder To Predict This Year’s Flu Season

Before COVID-19, having the sniffles or a mild headache was rarely cause for concern. Now, it’s common practice to stay home at the first sign of a cold. This is one of the reasons that there was very low flu activity during last year’s flu season. But will that trend continue this year? “We saw very little influenza activity last year,…
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On the recommendation of a special advisory panel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky yesterday signed off on the use of a pediatric dose of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in children between 5 and 11 years old. The move follows last week’s granting of an emergency use authorization for that age group by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),…
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The $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan that President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress unveiled yesterday would expand a range of social welfare programs, spend some $550 billion to promote renewable energy and combat climate change, and steer billions of dollars to federal research funding agencies. But the bill detailing the plan is less generous to research than a blueprint announced in the spring that…
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President Biden announced 30 of America’s most distinguished leaders in science and technology as members of his President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). A direct descendant of the scientific advisory committee established by President Eisenhower in 1957 in the weeks after the launch of Sputnik, PCAST is the sole body of external advisors charged with making science, technology,…
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