Skip to main content

Grassroots Funding Campaigns Fall Flat

Two online petitions started by Stephen Meltzer, a gastroenterologist and cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, that called on the White House to increase funding to the US National Institutes of Health fell short of their mark, ScienceInsider reports.

Meltzer initially launched a plea to boost NIH's budget to $33 billion from the current $30.7 billion on the White House's We the People website. According to the article, Metlzer and Morgan Giddings, a computational biologist, began recruiting signers by contacting colleagues, other academics, and every professional society and scientific organization to which they belonged or that they thought might be willing to help.

Petitions have to collect 25,000 signatures within 30 days to get a response from the White House, and both of Meltzer's petitions fell short of the minimum.
Commenting on the disappointing response to the petitions, Meltzer says he's been treated like a pariah by his scientific peers. In fact, he harbors serious doubts about the community's willingness to support grassroots lobbying efforts like his, according to ScienceInsider.

"The scientific community is very competitive and fractured," he says. "People who do [political advocacy] full-time think you're stealing their glory. Or they tell you, 'You don't know what you're doing.' That was one of the most frustrating lessons I learned."

The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.