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Prominent Scientists Denounce End to Coronavirus Grant

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Prominent Scientists Denounce End to Coronavirus Grant

Old 05-21-20, 07:53 PM
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wgscott
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Prominent Scientists Denounce End to Coronavirus Grant

NIH grants are how academic biomedical research (and a lot of corporate biomedical research) gets funded in the United States. The grant review process is extremely tightly controlled and rigorously apolitical. (I've been serving the scientific equivalent of jury duty on one of these review panels for the last six years -- basic structural biophysics in my case, so I have a firsthand understanding of how the review process works. It is very strictly based on scientific merit. It is by no means perfect, but it is far better than any other mechanism I can think of.)

To have a grant defunded after successful peer review (and in this case renewal) is almost unheard of. This only happens in the case of scientific fraud (which fortunately is rather rare). For this to happen for purely political reasons is simply unheard of. Ever.

A group of 77 Nobel laureates wants the U.S. government to review a grant cancellation for research in China directly related to preventing pandemics.
Stuff like this could kill American science.

Full NYT article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/21/h...aboratory.html (Clear cookies if you have any problem accessing it.)

The pre-eminent scientists characterized the explanation for the decision by the National Institutes of Health as “preposterous.” The agency said the investigation into the sources of pandemics did not fit “with program goals and agency priorities.”

The Nobel recipients said the grant was canceled “just a few days after President Trump responded to a question from a reporter who erroneously claimed that the grant awarded millions of dollars to investigators in Wuhan.” President Trump said the grant would be ended immediately.

The grant had been given to EcoHealth Alliance, an organization with headquarters in New York that studies the potential for spillover of animal viruses to humans around the globe. The group collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been at the center of conspiracy theories about how the novel coronavirus originated. Virologists and intelligence agencies agree that the virus evolved in nature and spread from animals to humans.
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Old 05-21-20, 08:29 PM
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...if you science types want to have some pull, a Nobel prize isn't gonna cut it. You need to consider becoming social media influencers on Tik Tok or Twitter. You need "followers" in the 100,000 and up range. Also it wouldn't hurt to put in a plug for Brawndo, the Thirst Mutilator. Just sayin'.
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Old 05-21-20, 09:18 PM
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I think my kids follow me on Strava, but I never look at it. I suppose it won't come as a huge surprise that I don't know the first thing about any of that stuff. (Well, I have heard of the aptly-named Twitter.)
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Old 05-21-20, 09:35 PM
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Provided as a public service only. All experiments are at the risk of the user.

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Old 05-21-20, 09:37 PM
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...130,000 followers. The mind reels.
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Old 05-23-20, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
NIH
Stuff like this could kill American science.
This is how some states fail; by not taking account of consequences and only holding a narrow view. This is not bike related but speaks to the narrow view. I'm rereading "The March of Folly" by the historian Barbara Tuchman. The book is about how states in the past have followed the wrong path and achieved results completely the opposite of what was desired. The current section of the book details how Britain, by following narrow and wrong objectives before American independence, converted a population of loyal subjects into rebellious colonists.
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Old 05-26-20, 01:00 AM
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The problem is our president is trying to deflect blame for the administration's lethargic response onto China, the WHO, and just about anybody else but the president. Yet, there is some evidence that early in the pandemic the Whitehouse and Trump minions intentionally had a poor response, in effect sealing the fate of the country.

I hope the future brings a return of some sense of normality.
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