Trump Administration Freezes Acquisition Of Fetal Tissue For Research, Including HIV Experiments

Science: Trump administration has quietly barred NIH scientists from acquiring fetal tissue
“U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has ordered scientists employed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to stop acquiring new human fetal tissue for experiments, ScienceInsider has learned. The suspension, imposed this past September without a public announcement, came as the government launched a review of all fetal tissue research funded by the federal government. The pause affects two laboratories run by the Bethesda, Maryland-based agency, NIH officials say. In one case, it disrupted a study probing how the virus that causes AIDS initially colonizes human tissues…” (Wadman, 12/7).

STAT: HIV research halted after NIH freezes acquisition of fetal tissue
“…Spokespeople for the Department of Health and Human Services and the NIH institutes with affected labs did not respond to STAT’s request for comment on Sunday. Researchers use fetal tissue to create mice with human-like immune systems — which is useful for biologists like Dr. Warner Greene [of the Gladstone Institute] who do HIV research. … His NIH collaborator was told in September that fetal tissue could no longer be ordered. ‘To have them removed — to have experimental programs stopped — because of politics is really disturbing,’ Greene said. ‘I believe it’s scientific censorship’…” (Sheridan, 12/9).

Washington Post: Trump administration halts study that would use fetal tissue ‘to discover a cure for HIV’
“…[The governments’ actions have] fanned a controversy that pits the biomedical research community against antiabortion activists and other social conservatives pressing the administration to stop the flow of federal grants and contracts for work involving fetal tissue. Such tissue comes from elective abortions. … An NIH spokeswoman said that when HHS began its review of fetal tissue in September, the NIH put in place a ‘pause’ in the procurement of that kind of tissue. Researchers were instructed to notify top officials if they needed more. The spokeswoman said the NIH is investigating why that didn’t happen…” (Goldstein et al., 12/9).

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