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'Stick' With What You Know

Former Merck CEO Roy Vagelos says NIH shouldn't be playing the drug development game, reports Katherine Hobson on the Wall Street Journal's Health blog. In December, NIH proposed the creation of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and has been fending off criticism from the research community ever since. NIH says that it hopes the new center will drive promising drug discovery and could eventually license promising compounds to pharma and biotech companies, Hobson says. But at a panel at the annual meeting of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Vagelos told the audience that translational research isn't the proper function of NIH and its money, calling it "the pathway to destruction," Hobson says. Instead, Vagelos said, the agency should stick to funding basic research.

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.