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Congressional Committee Approves $2B Increase in NIH Funding

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Congress on Friday night approved an appropriations package that includes a $2 billion boost in fiscal year 2019 funding for the National Institutes of Health to $39.1 billion.

The bipartisan bill — agreed upon by a joint House and Senate conference committee — would increase the NIH's budget by 5.4 percent over its current funding level, matching the increase proposed by the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations subcommittee last month.

It specifically calls for an additional $425 million for Alzheimer's disease research for a total of $2.34 billion; $429.4 million for the BRAIN initiative, a $29 million increase; and $376 million for the All of Us precision medicine study, $86 million more than in FY 2018.

The bill "includes the fourth consecutive funding increase for the National Institutes of Health, which will pave the way for new medical breakthroughs and lower healthcare costs over the long term," Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a statement. "We are on track, for the first time in 22 years, to get the Labor-HHS bill to the president's desk by the end of the fiscal year."

The legislation will next be voted on by the full House and Senate.

The Scan

Call for a Different Tack

Experts weigh the value of recent experiments testing genetically modified pig kidneys using brain-dead individuals, according to Nature News.

Wastewater Warning

The New York Times reports that wastewater surveillance in some parts of the US point to a possible surge.

Can't Get in the Program

Due to the Northern Ireland protocol dispute, the European Union is preventing UK researchers from joining the Horizon Europe research program, the Times of London reports.

Science Paper on Spatial-Controlled Genome Editing

In Science this week: approach to enable a CRISPR-Cas13a-based system to be used as a cancer therapy.