Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Science Policy Around the Web – October 6, 2015

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By: Eric Cheng, Ph.D.

Photo credit link: pixabay

HIV drug policy

Treat all people living with HIV, offer antiretrovirals as additional prevention choice for people at “substantial” risk

A new policy change recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) will remove previous limits which suggested that patients wait until the disease progresses instead of treating HIV infection when first detected.  The previous WHO guidelines limited treatment to people whose immune cell counts had fallen below a certain threshold. This new change could prevent more than 21 million deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030, which is in line with the United Nation’s aim of ending the AIDS epidemic in the same year.

“Everybody living with HIV has the right to life-saving treatment. The new guidelines are a very important step towards ensuring that all people living with HIV have immediate access to antiretroviral treatment,” said Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS. However, this move would lead to an increase in demand for antiretroviral therapy, which generally are given as a three-drug cocktail aimed at reducing the risk of the virus developing resistance. This increase in demand will lead to an increase in required financial support from both charities and governments.  Currently, almost $22 billion is currently spent on AIDS in poor and middle-income countries, half of it contributed by donors, according to UNAIDS. Even before the new guidelines were announced, the necessary funding was predicted to rise to $32 billion by 2020. “Now the question becomes how quickly will governments take up this recommendation,” Matthew Kavanagh, senior policy analyst for the U.S.-based Health Global Access Project. (WHO News Release)

NIH Leadership

Selection of Dr. Michael Lauer as the Deputy Director for Extramural Research, NIH

Michael S. Lauer, M.D, the Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences (DCVS) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has been selected to head the extramural research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As the director of DCVS, Dr. Lauer provided leadership in basic, clinical, population, and health services research on the causes, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases in one of the largest extramural divisions at NIH with a $1.7 billion portfolio. Now as director of the Office of Extramural Research, Dr. Lauer will oversee policies and guidelines for extramural research administration within NIH and in the biomedical research community.

Dr. Lauer will be replacing Sally Rockey, who resigned in June to accept a position at a new nonprofit called the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. (Francis S. Collins, NIH)

International Scientific Community

Scientist says researchers in immigrant-friendly nations can’t use his software

A German scientist, Gangolf Jobb, writes that he will be revoking the TREEFINDER licenses of researchers in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom on October 1 because of the countries’ immigration policy. He wrote “Immigration to my country harms me, it harms my family, it harms my people. Whoever invites or welcomes immigrants to Europe and Germany is my enemy,” and added, “Immigration unnecessarily defers the collapse of capitalism, its final crisis.”

TREEFINDER is a computer program that computes phylogenetic trees from molecular sequences. It is commonly used to build diagrams to show the most likely evolutionary relationship of various species. Fortunately there are alternatives to this software, which has not been updated since March of 2011. Researchers in the United States had already been banned from using the program in February to protest “a small rich elite there that misuses the country’s power to rule the world. The USA is our worst enemy.” (Kai Kupferschmidt, ScienceInsider)

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Written by sciencepolicyforall

October 6, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Linkposts

Tagged with , , ,

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