LHC Violates Human Rights? Swine Flu Vaccine for Poor Countries?

Here's a rundown of some of the stories we've been following on Science's policy blog, ScienceInsider:

Fewer academic biomedical scientists are relying on industry support for their research than in the mid-'90s. That's the most surprising result of the latest survey of industry relationships at universities led by conflicts-of-interest expert Eric Campbell of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Campbell and his co-workers found that 20% of the more than 2000 life sciences faculty members who responded in 2007 have direct industry funding. That's down from 28% in a 1995 survey.

Heartened by a continuing rapid decline in the cost of genome sequencing, a group of genome and museum experts today launched an ambitious plan to decipher 10,000 vertebrate genomes. However, the Genome 10K plan is short on details: where funding will come from; what sequencing strategy to use; and how to process and make use of data generated.

As the H1N1 swine flu pandemic marches on, Western countries have begun vaccinating their most vulnerable populations against the virus. But many countries in the developing world lack the resources to buy the vaccine. With charitable donations from manufacturers and rich countries, the World Health Organization is trying to get cash-strapped countries at least some vaccine. Marie-Paule Kieny, head of WHO's Initiative for Vaccine Research, gave ScienceInsider an update on how this complex operation is moving along. Read the Q and A here.

With the CERN particle physics lab due to start shooting particles around its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) again this month, and the first particle collisions expected in December, anti-LHC campaigners are on the warpath again. A new group calling itself the Committee on CERN Experimental Dangers (ConCERNed) plans to submit a complaint in the next few days to the human rights committee of the United Nations that calls for work with the LHC to be stopped. ConCERNed says the LHC threatens life on Earth and so violates the complainants' human rights.

For more on these stories and the latest science policy news and analysis, visit ScienceInsider.

Posted in Physics, Biology, Policy