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Just Those Submissions

The US National Institutes of Health says that it is not reversing its so-called "two strikes" rule that limits the number of times a researcher may resubmit a rejected a grant application, ScienceInsider reports. The policy is quite unpopular — ScienceInsider adds that more than 2,300 researchers signed a petition saying the limit was unfair — and a little more than a month ago, the Nature News blog reported that the agency was considering revising its rule.

But, Sally Rockey, the deputy director for extramural research at NIH, writes at her Rock Talk blog that one of the concerns that researchers had — that applications would build up into a queue and would be delayed — has not materialized. In addition, Rockey adds that the policy does not appear to, as some were afraid, put new investigators at a disadvantage.

Rockey also addresses the suggestion that a subset of applications, those just beyond the payline, be able to submit another time. After looking at the data, she writes that "any revision to the policy to allow additional resubmissions of all or a subset of A2 applications will displace equally meritorious A0 and A1 applications, and increase the time to award for many applications."

Weill Cornell Medical College's John Moore tells the Nature News Blog that the decision to keep the two-strikes policy "is a characteristic refusal by administrators to admit they erred badly when they made a change that has been consistently unpopular with those it affected, in this case NIH grant applicants."

The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.