EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Jan 27, 2015

Scientists ask if Ebola immunises as well as kills

LONDON/DAKAR (Reuters) – A recent sharp drop in new Ebola infections in West Africa is prompting scientists to wonder whether the virus may be silently immunising some people at the same time as brutally killing their neighbours.

    So-called “asymptomatic” Ebola cases – in which someone is exposed to the virus, develops antibodies, but doesn’t get sick or suffer symptoms – are hotly disputed among scientists, with some saying their existence is little more than a pipe dream.

Jan 23, 2015

First GSK Ebola vaccine shipment due to arrive in Liberia

LONDON (Reuters) – The first batch of GlaxoSmithKline’s experimental Ebola vaccine has been shipped to West Africa and is expected to arrive in Liberia later on Friday, the British drugmaker said.

The shipment, of an initial 300 vials of the vaccine, will be the first to arrive in one of the three main Ebola-affected African countries, GSK said in a statement.

Jan 22, 2015

Video-based therapy may help babies at risk of autism – study

LONDON (Reuters) – Video-based therapy for families with babies at risk of autism improves infants’ engagement, attention and social behaviour, and might reduce their risk chances of developing the condition, the findings of a small scientific study show.

Researchers publishing the findings in The Lancet Psychiatry journal said they showed that using video feedback-based therapy to help parents understand and respond to their baby’s early communication style might help modify emerging autism symptoms.

Jan 21, 2015

BPA plastics chemical poses no health risk, says European watchdog

LONDON (Reuters) – The chemical bisphenol A, used to stiffen some plastic food containers, poses no health risk to consumers of any age, including unborn children, at current levels of exposure, Europe’s food safety watchdog said on Wednesday.

Some studies have suggested possible links to everything from cancer to heart disease to infertility to kidney and liver problems, prompting European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to re-evaluate the potential risks of BPA.

Jan 20, 2015

MSF slams expensive vaccines, urges GSK and Pfizer to cut prices

LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) – the international charity
Medecins Sans Frontieres urged drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline
and Pfizer on Tuesday to slash the price of
their pneumococcal vaccines to $5 per child in poor countries.

In a report on vaccine prices ahead of an international
donor conference in Berlin at the end of January, MSF slammed
Big Pharma companies and said the cost of vaccinating a child in
the world’s poorest countries was now 68 times higher than in
2001.

Jan 19, 2015

Peer pressure not propaganda crucial to IS recruitment – experts

LONDON, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Peer pressure from radicalised
fighters in Syria and Iraq is more influential in attracting new
recruits from Europe than Islamic State (IS) propaganda,
according to British experts.

The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and
Political Violence (ICSR), in a study to be released next month,
found that peer groups and kinships were crucial in luring young
fighters, rather than IS videos and Internet messages.

Jan 19, 2015

Europe’s tuberculosis hub Britain seeks to wipe out the disease

LONDON (Reuters) – Health authorities launched an 11.5 million pounds ($17.4 million) plan on Monday to tackle Britain’s persistent tuberculosis (TB) problem, seeking to wipe the contagious lung disease out altogether.

Britain has one of the highest TB rates in western Europe and London is known as the continent’s “TB capital”.

Jan 16, 2015

The Beagle has landed: Britain’s missing spacecraft found on Mars

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s infamous “Beagle 2″ spacecraft, once dubbed “a heroic failure” by the nation’s Astronomer Royal, has been found on Mars — 11 years after it went missing searching for extraterrestrial life.

Beagle 2, part of the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission, had been due to land on Mars on Christmas Day 2003, but went missing on December 19, 2003. Until now, nothing had been heard from it since then.

Jan 16, 2015

GSK’s nicotine patches and gum feel the heat from e-cigarettes

LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline is
feeling the heat from the rapid growth in electronic cigarettes,
with enthusiasm for the nicotine delivery devices dampening
sales of the British drugmaker’s patches and gum, its chief
executive said.

In an interview with Reuters, Andrew Witty also said he and
his team had spent “a few days” exploring whether the drugmaker
should compete directly by becoming an e-cigarette maker, but
had swiftly decided against it.

Jan 14, 2015

Scientists find key gene mutations behind inherited heart disease

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have identified the crucial genetic mutations that cause a common heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), paving the way for more accurate diagnosis and screening of high-risk patients.

In a study of more than 5,000 people, researchers sequenced the gene encoding the muscle protein “titin”, known to be linked to this leading cause of inherited heart failure, to try to find which variations in it caused problems.

    • 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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