President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries could hamper bioscience research, according to Hakim Djaballah, a biotech consultant in New York.

Djaballah, who works in the fields of aging, infectious disease, and oncology, is on the board of the Pasteur Institute of Iran, and he’s concerned that mounting tensions between the US and countries affected by the 90-day ban — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — might impede scientific progress. Here’s what he had to say, edited for clarity:

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  • Here’s also why a lot of this is hyperbolic. Companies like Pfizer have shut down huge numbers of their domestic labs and used the savings to buy videoconferencing systems. So the lab protocol gets written in USA sent Pfizer Transylvania Laboratories, and the results are sent back to PFE. Everything is done electronically without the infrastructure of an American laboratory. No muss, no fuss, a weekly videoconference takes the place of live meetings.

  • For at least 30 years talented American chemists have been laid off in favor of H1b’s who come in at the bottom end of the salary range and keep America’s jobs in perpetuity. Maybe now things will be looking up for the American Pharma lab worker.

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