Reports and Proceedings
In this Editorial, Alondra Nelson and Jane Lubchenco – co-chairs of the Scientific Integrity Task Force that President Biden created early in his administration – discuss the first-ever comprehensive assessment of scientific integrity policy and practices in the U.S. government, as produced by the Task Force. It reveals that although Federal agency science is generally sound, there have been issues with scientific integrity that undermine both public trust in science and the morale and incentive of scientists to innovate. The Task Force identified best practices that continually reinforce a culture of integrity. Nelson and Lubchenco, in this Editorial, also propose several additional principles to strengthen scientific integrity across government agencies. They highlight their commitment to work with colleagues to implement the best practices identified by the Task Force and to make the additional principles they outline in this Editorial operational.
“While December is down compared to November, this is still the fourth consecutive month that we are seeing the employment-to-population ratio exceed the historic high points for people with disabilities,” said nTIDE co-author John O’Neill, PhD, at Kessler Foundation. “It appears that the pandemic has created a labor market where people with disabilities, who are often characterized as resourceful, may be capitalizing on supply-side shortages.”
Bruce Stanfill, an associate professor and researcher at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Chris Hoffmann, a Marine Corps combat veteran and founder of the Ambitious VET Network sketched a study framework to examine where and how veterans transitioning from military service to civilian life were thriving, treading water or struggling. The researchers found a strong link between community support and a fulfilling life after military service. Hoffmann believes that there are common causes of why some veterans struggle in their search for life satisfaction, but he needed help analyzing the complex data he had collected through interviews.
Decades of research by generations of virologists have generally established that the use laboratory-modified self-spreading viruses is too unpredictable to be applied safely outside of contained facilities. However, according to Filippa Lentzos and colleagues, these evidence-based norms are eroding, opening the door for risky research and proposals for use. In a Policy Forum, Lentzos et al. explore the consequences of this in the context of recent proposals to develop self-spreading genetically modified viruses in wildlife management and in self-spreading vaccines. The idea of using lab-modified self-spreading viruses for wildlife control isn’t necessarily new. For example, in the 1980s, Australian researchers developed several approaches using self-spreading viruses to sterilize or kill pest species, like foxes, mice and rabbits. In health care, self-spreading viruses have been promoted as vaccines. But the dynamics of a self-spreading virus passing from host to host enable a substantial potential for them to alter their biological properties once released into the environment, which could have disastrous unintended consequences. According to Lentzos et al., in recent proposals for the use of self-spreading viruses, biosafety, biosecurity, and ethical concerns are underappreciated – the result of eroding long-standing evidence-based norms – and current research on the topic has yet to present credible upsides to their use. Here, the authors discuss these issues and identify international institutions that could be leveraged to address current and future concerns related to efforts to promote and develop self-spreading viruses. “Only a concerted, global governance effort with coherent regional, national and local implementation can tackle the challenges of self-spreading viruses that have the potential to radically transform both wildlife and human communities,” write the authors.
A new Cornell University study uses queuing theory to examine how often pairs of shoppers might overlap in a supermarket – an approach that could be used to predict the transmission of COVID-19, and guide strategies to reduce its spread.
Analysis of data from 1984 to this year shows the Malaspina Glacier in Alaska surges approximately every 10 years, principally from the central lobe, which is the largest.
As researchers returned to their labs and at least some sense of normalcy in the wake of the pandemic, 2021 was a productive year for chemistry. A cover story in Chemical & Engineering News, an independent news outlet of the American Chemical Society, highlights the year’s top trends, delightful discoveries, forecasts for 2022 and more.
- Chemical & Engineering News
In a joint recommendation, the German higher federal authorities draw a picture of how the development of safe and sustainable advanced materials can be controlled and regulated. The term advanced materials is understood to refer to a broad and heterogeneous group of materials that have been deliberately designed to meet the functional requirements for future-oriented applications. The paper deals with the aspects of risk assessment, sustainability and control with regard to good governance and outlines relevant fields of action.
Researchers have found a way to make AI-generated voices, such as digital personal assistants, more expressive, with a minimum amount of training. The method, which translates text to speech, can also be applied to voices that were never part of the system’s training set.
Pregnant people who contract COVID-19 have an increased risk of disease severity and death, yet only 31% of pregnant people in the United States had received vaccines as of September 2021. One barrier to vaccine acceptance is the concern that vaccination might disrupt pregnancy.
Daratumumab in multiple myeloma: reassessment shows hint of considerable added benefit Because of new scientific findings, the manufacturer requested a new early benefit assessment. The latest data cut-off of the MAIA study now shows an advantage in overall survival.