ScienceScope

Science  31 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5607, pp. 639
  1. Insider to Lead World Health Organization

    A relatively unknown insider, Jong Wook Lee (right), has been tapped as the next director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO). The South Korean tuberculosis expert has worked at WHO for nearly 20 years, most recently as head of WHO's Stop TB antituberculosis program.

    The 28 January vote by the organization's Executive Board at WHO's Geneva, Switzerland, headquarters was close: Lee received 17 votes to 15 for runner-up Peter Piot, head of UNAIDS. Three other finalists—Pascoal Manuel Mocumbi, prime minister of Mozambique; Ismail Sallam, Egypt's former health minister; and Mexico's health minister Julio Frenk—were eliminated in a first round of voting.

    CREDIT: WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

    Lee has said he will work to decentralize WHO and strengthen its country and regional offices. Lee's current boss, David Heymann, executive director of WHO's division of communicable diseases, praised the board's choice. Lee “has shown great skills in working with partners in the private sector,” he said, which will be important for the organization in coming years. The WHO General Assembly is expected to approve Lee's nomination at its meeting in May. He will take over from current Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland at the end of June.

  2. Indian Animal Activists Dropped From Oversight Panel

    NEW DELHI—In a move likely to please the Indian biomedical community, ardent animal activists have been pushed off a committee that supervises animal experimentation.

    Under animal-welfare activist and former union minister Maneka Gandhi, the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals conducted a series of inspections that found deficiencies at several well-known science institutes. But Gandhi lost her Cabinet post in July after a squabble with the former health minister, and her committee post last month. Now the panel has shed 10 of 28 members and been recast into a body of scientists and government officials.

    Immunologist Satyajit Rath of the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi welcomes the changes as a move toward more balanced oversight. But Gandhi sees it as “the end of the road for surprise inspections and rigorous oversight.”