Sep 25, 2018

Trump administration launches review of fetal tissue research

Department of Health and Human Services. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services said Monday it cancelled a contract between Advanced Bioscience Resources and the Food and Drug Administration that supplied fetal tissue for research, due to uncertainty that the contract used appropriate protections and followed procurement policy.

The big picture: HHS also says that it’s reviewing "all research involving fetal tissue" and vowed to consider "the serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations involved."

Background: Fetal tissue is mostly collected from elective abortions and can be used for research into vaccines, Zika, and genetic diseases. 

Why now? CNN reports that the FDA said in June it plans to purchase about $16,000 of "human fetal tissue" for tests to understand how humans may respond to medications.

  • This prompted backlash from Republicans, who urged the FDA earlier this month in a letter to cancel the contract.

Meanwhile, some scientists have expressed concern over interrupted research. Per STAT, Alta Charo, a University of Wisconsin bioethics professor who has testified before Congress on this topic before, says:

“The use of fetal tissue is important or even necessary for some kinds of work.”

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What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Go deeperArrow50 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee Molson Coors on Wednesday, including the 51-year-old gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy