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The National Institutes of Health is considering making its grant review process anonymous, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.

NIH announced a number of initiatives last Friday "to help strengthen the biomedical research enterprise and sustain the global competitiveness of the US.scientific community." The anonymous grant review plan, falling under its Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce program, is to "promote fairness in peer review through interventions including implicit bias and diversity awareness training for both scientific review officers and members of review panels, and piloting a program that would make grant applications completely anonymous."

Lawrence Tabak, the principal deputy director at NIH tells the Chronicle that the agency is considering "a number of approaches" for implementing anonymous review of grants.

Other initiatives include adopting individual development plans for graduate students and postdocs, examining new mechanisms to encourage independent research careers, and debuting a new high-performance computing program.

The Scan

Omicron's Emergence

The World Health Organization has called Omicron a SARS-CoV-2 "variant of concern," the Los Angeles Times writes.

Not as Much

Merck's pill to treat COVID-19 reduces the risk of hospitalization and death among COVID-19 patients by less than previously reported, the New York Times says.

Bats That Hang Together

Discover magazine writes that researchers have found a social microbiome among vampire bats.

PLOS Papers on CEWAS, Simian Varicella Virus Transcriptome, Dermatomyositis Markers

In PLOS this week: multi-omic approach to home in on genetic risk variants, transcriptomic analysis of the simian varicella virus, and more.