Jun 6, 2019

Scientists are concerned with Trump's fetal tissue ban

HHS Secretary Alex Azar, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration announced yesterday that it will no longer fund medical research that uses fetal tissue, drawing the ire of scientists and research groups.

The big picture: While scientists say that there is no equally effective alternative to fetal tissue in research, opponents of its use say that some newer methods show potential, the Washington Post reports.

  • The administration will also end a multi-million dollar contract with a lab at the University of California, San Francisco that uses fetal tissue to test new HIV therapies.
  • "Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration," HHS said in a statement.

The impact: The National Institutes of Health funds about 200 external research products that use fetal tissue, which will be unaffected. There are only 3 NIH-run projects that will be impacted.

  • Future grant applicants will be reviewed by an ethics advisory board.

What they're saying: While the move is supported by anti-abortion advocates, scientists say it's an impediment to finding new medical treatments.

  • The new rules "further erode the unique potential fetal tissue research holds for addressing such critical objectives as fighting blindness, ending Parkinson's disease, and advancing maternal and child health," Research!America said in a statement.
  • "Valuable research that is directed at helping to develop therapies for terrible diseases will be stopped," Larry Goldstein, a distinguished professor in the University of California, San Diego, told the Washington Post.

Go deeper: Trump administration adds new restrictions for fetal tissue research

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 857,487 — Total deaths: 42,107 — Total recoveries: 178,034.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 188,172 — Total deaths: 3,873 — Total recoveries: 7,024.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: UN warns of recession with "no parallel" to recent past

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 and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus pandemic is the "greatest test" the world has faced together since the formation of the United Nations just after the Second World War ended in 1945, UN chief António Guterres said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 856,000 and the death toll exceeded 42,000 Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths

President Trump said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the next two weeks in the U.S. will be "very painful" and that he wants "every American to be prepared for the days that lie ahead," before giving way to Deborah Birx to explain the models informing the White House's new guidance on the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health