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Not So Great

The US House of Representatives has approved a spending bill that would cut the budget of the Department of Energy's Office of Science slightly, reports ScienceInsider's David Malakoff. The bill would give DOE $26.3 billion, $4.82 billion of which would go to the Office of Science, Malakoff says — about $365 million below DOE's total 2012 budget and $72.2 million below of the Office of Science's 2012 budget. The Senate has yet to vote on the bill.

Meantime, a Senate panel voted to give NIH a bit of a funding boost — a $100 million raise for 2013 — but the research community says it's going to be hard to do everything it wants to do with that small an increase, reports ScienceInsider's Jocelyn Kaiser. Research advocates say this modest increase continues a trend of "stagnation" in NIH's budget, Kaiser adds. "They argue that NIH spending in recent years has not kept pace with so-called 'biomedical inflation' — the rate at which research costs escalate each year — and estimate that the agency's budget is effectively 17 percent below what it was a decade ago," she says.

At the Nature News blog, Meredith Wadman says the news about the NIH budget was met with "muted dismay" from research advocates, who are happy to see some funding increase, but say it's nowhere near enough money. "The $100 million in new funding, if it survives the Congressional wrangling of the coming months, would cover $80 million in new Alzheimer's research funding at NIH that agency director Francis Collins and his boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, have very publicly committed to provide in 2013," Wadman says. However, she adds, the Institutional Development Awards program, which builds biomedical research infrastructure in states with few NIH grants, is facing a $50.5 million cut.

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.