A universal problem

Recent headlines have promised that a ‘universal flu vaccine’ may be within reach, pointing to antibodies that offer broad protection in animal studies. But the scientists behind this effort had to first overcome great skepticism from their peers—as well as an imperfect laboratory test. Hannah Hoag reports on one virologist’s 20-year effort to challenge the tenets of the field. Influenza is the Lady Gaga of viruses: it reinvents itself each year, often in unexpected ways. But the flu virus is far more … Read more…

Accord could make Canadian generics industry a ‘rust bucket’

A trade agreement in negotiations between Canada and the EU is drawing the ire of generic drugmakers, provincial governments and patient advocates over proposals to extend drug patents by several years in Canada, a move that critics say would delay the arrival of generic medicines to market in that country and inflate healthcare costs. According to Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada imports C$8.4 billion ($8.2 billion) of pharmaceutical products from the EU annually, making Canada the … Read more…

Canadian research infrastructure receives support, but will it last?

Investment in infrastructure typically brings to mind hard-hat projects such as the construction of highways. But to keep science on the fast track, focused funding of research infrastructure is necessary. Following this logic, in December the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced it would award C$45.5 million ($35.9 million) to specific Canadian research projects. The investment will support more than 250 projects, including those in the health field, by providing equipment to attract and retain researchers to Canadian institutions. The … Read more…