Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Science Policy Around the Web – August 21, 2013

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By: Jennifer Plank

photo credit: Doug Pieper via photopin cc

photo credit: Doug Pieper via photopin cc

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

U.S. Blocks Import Permit for Russian Beluga Whales – The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has blocked the import of 18 beluga whales from Russia to U.S. aquariums, because they feel the move would violate marine mammal protection laws. The import was requested by the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. The lifespan of beluga whales in captivity is relatively short, and only Russia permits their capture from the wild, necessitating a request to import into the U.S. The agency concluded that allowing the import to the Georgia Aquarium would result in increased seizure of whales from their natural environments. (Virginia Morell)

Scientists are Creating a Dangerous Flu Strain, Just to Prove They Can – A group of scientists from Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands plan to perform gain-of-function studies on the new avian flu virus (H7N9). So far, H7N9 has caused 43 fatalities in China and epidemiologists are actively tracking an outbreak. The group’s studies will modify the H7N9 virus in such a way to make it more deadly. The research will have to be approved by a research review board for public safety, however, NIH scientist Dr. Steven Salzberg believes the research is an unnecessary risk to public safety and will not provide results that will be useful in preventing H7N9 infection.  (Steven Salzberg)

Restrictions on Health Workers with HIV Lifted as Outdated Ban Ends – The UK has lifted a ban preventing healthcare practitioners with HIV taking retroviral drugs from performing certain procedures on patients. Because drug treatments for HIV result in low viral loads, it is essentially impossible to transmit the virus to patients. In fact, only 4 cases of healthcare worker-to-patient transmission has ever been recorded and in each instance (none occurred in the UK), the practitioner was not taking medication. Currently, only 4 countries (Australia, Ireland, Italy and Malta) have laws limiting the procedures performed by HIV-positive practitioners.

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

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Written by sciencepolicyforall

August 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Posted in Linkposts

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