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Researchers Trace Evolution Of H7N9, Find Other Similar Viral Strains

“Researchers have traced the evolution of the [H7N9] avian flu currently spreading in China, and have found evidence that it developed in parallel with a similar bird flu, H7N7, which can infect mammals,” Nature reports. “Although there is no evidence that this H7N7 strain will infect humans, the authors of…

Blog Examines ‘Advanced Market Commitment’ Funding Mechanism

Writing in the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a senior fellow at the CGD, and Kate McQueston, a program coordinator to the global health policy team, examine the Advanced Market Commitment (AMC), an “innovative financing mechanism [that] aims…

MERS Virus Easily Transmitted In Health Care Environments, Study Says

“The new Middle East coronavirus that has killed 38 people after emerging late last year is a serious risk in hospitals because it is easily transmitted in health care environments, infectious disease experts said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports. “In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the…

Yearlong Moratorium On H5N1 Research Soon Lifted, New Rules Implemented, Science Reports

“U.S. government officials say they expect to put the finishing touches this month on new rules designed to help funding agencies identify and regulate especially problematic H5N1 studies before they begin,” which would allow influenza researchers “to lift a year-old, self-imposed moratorium on certain kinds of potentially dangerous experiments,” Science reports. “The two developments would essentially end a long and bruising controversy over the risks and benefits of H5N1 research,” the magazine notes, adding the debate was initiated by two research teams that lab-engineered H5N1 strains to be transmissible among mammals. “The issue has been especially sensitive for the U.S. government, because its National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded the two studies and is one of the world’s biggest funders of H5N1 research,” Science writes. The magazine discusses the moratorium’s impact on research worldwide and summarizes differing views about its effects (Malakoff, 1/4).

Saudi Arabia, WHO Report 3 Additional MERS Cases

“Saudi Arabia and the [WHO] reported three new MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases in that country today, all of them in women, two of whom are health care workers,” CIDRAP News reports. “One of the patients is a 67-year-old Saudi citizen in Riyadh who has various chronic diseases…

NIH Director Speaks To Huffington Post About Effects Of Sequestration

The Huffington Post features an interview with NIH Director Francis Collins, who speaks about the effects of sequestration on the agency’s budget. Because of forced cuts, “[i]nternal NIH estimates show that it will end up cutting more than the 700 research grants the institutes initially planned to sacrifice in the…

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