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Human Embryonic Stem Cell Guidelines Announced

NIH issued draft guidances on Friday regarding federal funding of research on human embryonic stem cells. The guidelines "allow funding for research using human embryonic stem cells that were derived from embryos created by in vitro fertilization for reproductive purposes and were no longer needed for that purpose." According to the Washington Post, Acting NIH Director Raynard Kington said, "This will be a great expansion of the opportunities because of the many more lines we'll be able to use."

At the Scientific Activist, Nick Anthis writes that these new rules are still restrictive. "The rules basically ensure that if a cell line was derived from an embryo that was not left over from a fertility clinic, work on that cell line can never be funded by federal dollars. Ever," he writes.

Science Progress' Michael Rugnetta applauds the ethical framework of the guidelines that ensure informed consent, including that the donors understand they may not personally benefit from the donation, lack of financial incentives for donation, among others. The comment period ends in 30 days and the Obama administration plans to finalize them by July 7th.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.