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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

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.