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Why Trumps N.I.H. Cuts Should Worry Us?
By Prof. Harold Varmus
President Trump had announced his intention to cut the budget for the National Institutes of Health by 18.3 percent, about $5.8 billion. To understand just how devastating a cut of less than 20 percent of an agencys budget would be requires some understanding of how the N.I.H. operates. Very little of its typical annual budget is spent on the agencys administration: The industrious, underpaid government scientists who manage the funding of the N.I.H.s research programs consume less than 5 percent of its budget. Only a bit more, about 10 percent, supports the work of government scientists. In sharp contrast, over 80 percent of its resources are devoted to competitively reviewed biomedical research projects, training programs and science centers, affecting nearly every district in the country.
Are laboratory mice too clean?
This would matter, because mice are often used in medical experiments on the assumption that their reactions are similar enough to those of human beings for them to act as stand-ins. Conversely, laboratories spotlessness might also mean mice are sometimes too healthy to act as useful models for disease. As they explain in Trends in Immunology, Dr Tao and Dr Reese therefore combed the scientific literature to look for some evidence.
Specific pathogen-free mouse husbandry affects the basal state of the mouse immune system and changes mouse immune responses.