Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Science Policy Around the Web – June 21, 2013

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By: Jennifer Plank

photo credit: ZaldyImg via photopin cc

photo credit: ZaldyImg via photopin cc

Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

HPV Vaccine is Credited for Fall of Teenagers’ Infection Rate – Despite low vaccination rates in the US, the incidence of high risk HPV infection, the virus that causes the majority of cases of cervical cancer, in girls aged 14-19 was cut in half between 2006 (when the vaccine was introduced) and 2010. This comes a surprise to public health experts because only approximately 1/3 of teenaged girls in the US have been vaccinated, as compared to 80 percent vaccination rates in Denmark and Britain. One possible explanation for the drop in HPV infection despite low rates of vaccination is “herd immunity”  which means that vaccinated individuals in the population reduce the total number of infections and overall, HPV becomes less prevalent. At the current vaccination rate, approximately 45,000 future cases of cervical cancer in girls who are under the age of 13 will be prevented. (Sabrina Tavernise)

SARS-like Virus has High Mortality Rate in Saudi Arabia – To date, 32 out of 49 individuals infected with a new SARS-like respiratory virus, called MERS-CoV, have died, resulting in an unusually high 65 percent mortality rate. Findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that the virus is spread by person-to-person contact and can spread quickly in a hospital setting. The majority of MERS-CoV infections have occurred in Saudi Arabia, however, there have been instances reported elsewhere. All instances of infections have been linked to travel to the Middle East. MERS-CoV has an incubation time of 5 days (similar to SARS), during which, the virus is highly contagious. (Meeri Kim)

ASBMB Gives Mixed Review to the Supreme Court Decision on Gene Patenting – Last week, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the Association for Molecular Pathology (Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics) and overturned the patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) has mixed feelings on the ruling: while the ASBMB agrees with overturning the patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2, they do not agree with the ruling that because cDNA is not naturally occurring, it is patentable. (Chris Pickett)

Have an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

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Written by sciencepolicyforall

June 21, 2013 at 10:20 am

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