-A newly released linkurl:government report;http://www.hhs.gov/aspr/omsph/biosecurity/biosecurity-report.pdf calls for changing the rules for conducting research on certain biological materials that could potentially be used as bioterror agents. Though the current list of "select agents" includes 82 pathogens and toxins, the report says, they don't all pose the same level of threat; the panel recommended stratifying the list based on the level of risk. The report also calls for beefing up security -- enhancing personnel screening and establishing a minimum standard for security measures at buildings housing pathogen labs. Meanwhile, in linkurl:an article;http://www.nature.com/nrmicro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nrmicro2299.html in __Nature Reviews Microbiology__ published online today, scientists argue that the select agent list is hobbling research and thereby making society more rather than less vulnerable to both biological attacks and naturally-occurring epidemics. -With the 2010 budget in place, the National Institutes of Health has announced linkurl:some changes;http://writedit.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/nih-fy10-fiscal-policies/ to its grants policy, aimed towards funding at least 1650 new investigators...

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