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Mar 3, 2015

Harvard prevention trial studies tau, Alzheimer’s other protein

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Alzheimer’s researchers at Harvard for the first time are scanning the brains of healthy patients for the presence of a hallmark protein called tau, which forms toxic tangles of nerve fibers associated with the fatal disease.

The new scans are part of a large clinical trial called Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s or A4, the first designed to identify and treat patients in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, before memory loss begins.

Feb 24, 2015

U.S. government report outlines foods most prone to pathogens

CHICAGO (Reuters) – More than 80 percent of cases of a certain E. coli illness were linked to beef and vegetables grown in rows, according to a U.S. government report on Tuesday.

Salmonella infections were traced to a wider variety of foods ranging from tomatoes and sprouts to chicken, beef and pork, the report released on Tuesday by three federal agencies charged with food safety showed.

Feb 4, 2015

Ebola virus sent out of high-security lab was likely dead: CDC

CHICAGO (Reuters) – An internal investigation of an Ebola incident at a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory in December found that samples sent to a lower-security lab were “unlikely” to have contained live virus and posed no threat to staff, the CDC said on Wednesday.

The close call at the CDC followed months of mishaps involving anthrax and a deadly strain of bird flu, raising questions about how the agency handles the world’s deadliest pathogens.

Feb 4, 2015

Could a $34 smartphone device improve HIV diagnosis in Africa?

CHICAGO, Feb 4 (Reuters) – A $34 device that plugs into the
audio jack of a smartphone was nearly as effective as far more
costly diagnostic blood testing equipment in identifying
antibodies for HIV and syphilis in a pilot study in Africa, U.S.
researchers said on Wednesday.

The mobile lab device, known as a dongle, cost $34 to make,
compared with more than $18,000 for the gold standard diagnostic
equipment. In a pilot study, the device performed all of the
mechanical, optical and electronic functions of a lab-based
blood test in 15 minutes, using only power drawn from the
smartphone.

Feb 4, 2015

Blood from Ebola survivors could help spur new disease treatments

CHICAGO, Feb 4 (Reuters) – After successfully treating four
Ebola patients last year, Emory University in Atlanta is now
leading a government-funded project that will use blood from
survivors of the deadly virus to test a novel way of treating
infectious disease.

Traditional vaccines boost the immune system’s response to
infections. The new project will inject people with genetic
material, such as DNA or RNA, in hopes of spurring a person’s
own cells to make specific antibodies capable of fighting Ebola
or other pathogens.

Jan 29, 2015

Exclusive: CDC installing cameras in labs in agency-wide safety push

ATLANTA (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has introduced camera monitoring of workers in its highest-level biosafety laboratories as it seeks to restore public faith in its procedures after a series of mishaps, agency officials tell Reuters.

One lab worker inadvertently risked contracting Ebola last month when they worked with the live virus that was supposed to have been inactivated, or killed. Since last June, the Atlanta-based agency has disclosed several incidents, one in which scientists unknowingly sent potentially live anthrax to a lower-security laboratory and another in which a deadly form of bird flu was sent to an external agency’s lab.

Jan 29, 2015

CDC installing cameras in labs in agency-wide safety push

ATLANTA (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has introduced camera monitoring of workers in its highest-level biosafety laboratories as it seeks to restore public faith in its procedures after a series of mishaps, agency officials tell Reuters.

One lab worker inadvertently risked contracting Ebola last month when they worked with the live virus that was supposed to have been inactivated, or killed. Since last June, the Atlanta-based agency has disclosed several incidents, one in which scientists unknowingly sent potentially live anthrax to a lower-security laboratory and another in which a deadly form of bird flu was sent to an external agency’s lab.

Jan 20, 2015

Big city life may not be a key asthma risk – U.S. study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The simple fact of growing up in a big city may not be a major factor in whether a child develops asthma, according to a new study that contradicts decades of public health assumptions about the so-called inner city asthma epidemic.

Instead, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that being poor, black or Puerto Rican are the most important factors that determine a child’s asthma risk.

Jan 15, 2015

More than three quarters of U.S. flu shots ineffective-report

CHICAGO (Reuters) – More than three-quarters of Americans who got this season’s flu shot could get the virus anyway, given a mismatch between the flu strains covered by the shot and those actually causing illness in people, U.S. officials said.

An interim CDC report found the shot was only 23 percent effective overall, a performance about in line with what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted last year, experts said. At the time, CDC warned that the predominant flu virus, influenza A (H3N2), had “drifted” or changed genetically since the shot was made.

Jan 14, 2015

Genome wiz Venter partners with Roche in DNA sequencing deal

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Genome pioneer J. Craig Venter has signed a multi-year deal to sequence and analyze tens of thousands of genomes for Roche’s Genentech unit in a deal aimed at identifying new drug targets and biomarkers, the companies said on Wednesday.

The deal is one of the biggest yet for Venter’s La Jolla, California based Human Longevity Inc (HLI), a start-up formed last March with the goal of sequencing 1 million genomes by 2020. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    • About Julie

      "Julie Steenhuysen has been covering health and science topics for Reuters for the past decade, first as a medical device correspondent, then as team leader for the equities team covering U.S. pharmaceuticals and healthcare companies. For the past 4 years, Julie has worked as U.S. health and science correspondent, focusing on coverage for a general news audience."
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