EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Sep 19, 2014

Scientists see risk of mutant airborne Ebola as remote

LONDON, Sept 19 (Reuters) – The Ebola virus raging through
West Africa is mutating rapidly as it tears a deadly path
through cities, towns and villages, but the genetic changes are
for now not giving it the ability to spread more easily.

Concern that the virus could gain capability to transmit
through the air – creating a nightmare scenario of the disease
being able to spread like a flu pandemic, killing millions – was
fuelled by a top infectious disease expert in the United States.

Sep 17, 2014

Study asks whether artificial sweeteners may drive diabetes

LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Scientists studying the effects
of artificial sweeteners in mice and humans say they have found
that eating them may increase the risk of developing glucose
intolerance, a risk factor for diabetes.

In work that raises questions over whether artificial
sweeteners – widely seen as “healthier” than sugars – should be
reassessed, the researchers said the substances altered the
balance of microbes in the gut linked to susceptibility to
metabolic diseases like diabetes.

Sep 17, 2014

First UK volunteer gets experimental GSK Ebola shot in trial

LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – The first volunteer in a
fast-tracked British safety trial of an experimental Ebola
vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline received the injection
on Wednesday, trial organisers said.

The candidate Ebola vaccine, which GSK co-developed with the
United States National Institutes of Health, has also been given
to 10 volunteers taking part in a separate trial in the United
States, and so far there were no signs of any serious adverse
reactions, doctors said.

Sep 16, 2014

Forensics suggest Richard III killed by two blows to bare head

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists in Britain have given blow-by-blow details of King Richard III’s death at the Battle of Bosworth more than 500 years ago and say two of many blows to his bare head could have killed him very swiftly.

Their analysis of the remains of the last English monarch to die in battle suggest he was attacked by one or more people, and that nine of 11 blows, clearly inflicted in battle, were to his skull and another possibly fatal blow was to his pelvis. The findings also support previous opinion that he had no helmet on.

Sep 16, 2014

Urine test for cervical cancer virus offers alternative to smear

LONDON (Reuters) – A simple urine test for the virus that causes cervical cancer could offer a less invasive and more acceptable alternative to the conventional cervical smear test, researchers said on Tuesday.

In a study comparing the accuracy of urine sample testing with smear testing conducted by a doctor, scientists from Britain and Spain found the results were good and said using the urine test to detect human papillomavirus (HPV) could lead to more women agreeing to be screened.

Sep 15, 2014

As Ebola grows out of control, WHO pleads for more health workers

LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – The number of new Ebola cases in West Africa is growing faster than authorities can manage them, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, renewing a call for health workers from around the world to go to the region to help.

As the death toll rose to more than 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases, WHO director general Margaret Chan told a news conference in Geneva the vast scale of the outbreak — particularly in the three hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — required a massive emergency response.

Sep 12, 2014

First person in UK trial to get experimental Ebola shot next week

LONDON (Reuters) – The first human volunteer in a fast-tracked British safety trial of an experimental vaccine to fight Ebola is to be injected with the shot next week, organizers of the trial said on Friday.

The candidate Ebola vaccine is being co-developed by the United States National Institutes of Health and the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Sep 12, 2014

WHO asks for more health workers to fight Ebola as death toll grows

LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – The number of new Ebola cases in West Africa is growing faster than authorities can manage them, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, renewing a call for health workers from around the world to go to the region to help.

As the death toll rose to more than 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases, WHO director general Margaret Chan said the vast nature of the outbreak — particularly in the three hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — required a massive emergency response.

Sep 11, 2014

Scientists ‘reset’ stem cells to study start of human development

LONDON (Reuters) – British and Japanese scientists have managed to “reset” human stem cells to their earliest state, opening up a new realm of research into the start of human development and potentially life-saving regenerative medicines.

In work described by one independent expert as “a major step forward”, the scientists said they had successfully rebooted pluripotent stem cells so they were equivalent to those of a 7 to 10-day old embryo, before it implants in the womb.

Sep 11, 2014

Cancer-zapping proton therapy only suitable for rare patients

LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) – A new cancer-zapping therapy for which a British couple took their child to the Czech Republic amid an international police hunt and media storm can be highly effective, experts say, but is only suitable for rare tumors.

The parents of British five-year-old Ashya King, who has a brain tumor, ignored medical advice, removed him from hospital and left the country at the end of August, saying they wanted to take him to a private clinic in Prague for proton beam therapy – a type of radiotherapy not currently available in Britain.

    • About Kate

      "I cover health and science news for the region of Europe, Middle East and Africa -- from flu pandemics to the newest planetary discovery to the latest drug and research developments. I joined Reuters in 1993 and worked in London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt before moving to BBC television to work on European politics for Newsnight for 2 years. Since returning to Reuters, I have also worked as a parliamentary correspondent in Westminster and on the main news desk of the London bureau."
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