The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) stopped processing grants, some government websites were made inaccessible and many important research programmes were left hanging, potentially putting lives at risk in the case of some disease studies. Use of government telephones and e-mail was also suspended. The restrictions were still in place as Nature went to press.
At the NIH, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, 73% of the agency’s 18,646 employees were immediately placed on furlough, or enforced leave. The agency also stopped accepting patients for its clinical trials or initiating new studies. Minimal staff remain to care for lab animals and to protect NIH facilities.
I realized how much of the services of the US government I actually use regularly when visiting the PubMed and Clinicaltrial.gov webpages that both aren’t updated anymore. Luckily clinical trials on run at NIH can still be continued. But the halt in both, new trial initiation and NSF research and grant processing, will have a long-term impact.
See on www.nature.com