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But It Sounds Like Something's Changing

DrugMonkey doesn't think much of the new NIH rules to address financial conflict of interest among researchers. In fact, he says, the tighter rules "will do absolutely nothing about real COI." For one thing, DrugMonkey says, lowering the reporting threshold from $10,000 to $5,000 won't do anything about the PIs who caused scandal and were investigated by Congress for making hundreds of thousands of dollars from big pharma without reporting it. If they didn't report at $10,000, asking them to report at $5,000 won't do much, DrugMonkey says. "Note that this level of outside cashola is well over the previous requirement for institutions to manage the conflict and note further that those previous requirements failed spectacularly," he adds. "Changing the threshold does jack squat." The problem, he continues, is enforcing the rules, something NIH isn't very good at. Instead, he says, the agency is trying to look busy while not doing very much to address the real problem. Furthermore, leaving the responsibility for managing conflict to institutions is also bunk, he says, since they already tend to turn a blind eye to conflicts of interest to avoid having their NIH funding cut. "C'mon NIH. Try again on this one," he says.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.