EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Dec 11, 2014

One shot or two? Many questions unresolved in Ebola vaccine race

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists racing to develop vaccines against Ebola are trying to determine whether they can best fight the disease with a single injection or with two, a calculation that could determine how quickly and effectively a program can be rolled out.

Administering two vaccines, one after the other, would almost certainly give far greater protection than a single shot against a deadly virus that has killed more than 6,000 people in West Africa this year.

Dec 11, 2014

Unchecked superbugs could kill 10 million a year, cost $100 trillion

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Drug-resistant superbugs could kill an extra 10 million people a year and cost up to $100 trillion by 2050 if their rampant global spread is not halted, according to a British government-commissioned review.

Such infections already kill hundreds of thousands of people a year and the trend is growing, the review said, adding: “The importance of effective antimicrobial drugs cannot be overplayed.”

Dec 9, 2014

Malaria death rates fall, Ebola threatens W.Africa progress

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Malaria deaths have dropped dramatically since 2000 and cases are falling steadily thanks to more people being diagnosed and treated and more getting bed nets, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Yet progress against the mosquito-borne infection remains fragile and West African countries suffering an unprecedented epidemic of Ebola are particularly at risk of seeing a resurgence of malaria, the United Nations health agency said.

Dec 4, 2014

Scientists find why male smokers may run even higher health risks

LONDON (Reuters) – Male smokers are three times more likely than non-smoking men to lose their Y chromosomes, according to research which may explain why men develop and die from many cancers at disproportionate rates compared to women.

In a study in the journal Science, researchers at Sweden’s Uppsala University found that Y chromosomes, which are important for sex determination and sperm production, more often disappear from blood cells of smokers than those of men who have never smoked or of men who have kicked the habit.

Dec 4, 2014

UN says $25 spent on sexual health per woman per year would reduce deaths

By Kate Kelland

LONDON(Reuters) – Spending $25 per woman per year on full sexual health services would dramatically reduce mother and baby deaths and give women the choice of smaller, healthier and more productive families, according to a UN report on Thursday.

The report, by the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA and the Guttmacher Institute, described “a staggering lack of basic sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries” which means 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy don’t have access to modern contraceptives to help them.

Dec 3, 2014

Scientists map genetic diversity of sub-Saharan Africa

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have made the most comprehensive map yet of African genetic variation and say it should help them learn more about the role genes play in diseases such as malaria, hemorrhagic fever and hypertension in populations there.

Publishing the findings in the journal Nature on Wednesday, Deepti Gurdasani of Britain’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said that despite Africa being the world’s most genetically diverse region, relatively little is known about potential genetic risks for disease among its populations.

Dec 2, 2014

No serious side effects in Merck/Newlink Ebola vaccine test

LONDON (Reuters) – The first people vaccinated with an experimental Ebola shot being developed by Merck and NewLink have had no serious side effects so far, but a few experienced mild fever, Swiss researchers said on Tuesday.

The shot, one of several being fast-tracked through clinical trials in the hope they can be approved for use in the Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa, is undergoing initial human safety tests at the University Hospitals of Geneva.

Dec 1, 2014

HIV’s ability to cause AIDS is weakening over time, study finds

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Rapid evolution of HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, is slowing its ability to cause AIDS, according to a study of more than 2,000 women in Africa.

Scientists said the research suggests a less virulent HIV could be one of several factors contributing to a turning of the deadly pandemic, eventually leading to the end of AIDS.

Dec 1, 2014

AIDS campaigners say pandemic has finally reached tipping point

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – The world has finally reached “the
beginning of the end” of the AIDS pandemic that has infected and
killed millions in the past 30 years, according to a leading
campaign group fighting HIV.

The number of people newly infected with HIV over the last
year was lower than the number of HIV-positive people who joined
those getting access to the medicines they need to take for life
to keep AIDS at bay.

Nov 27, 2014

Europe and Central Asia failing to curb spread of HIV: WHO

LONDON (Reuters) – Despite major advances in treating and preventing HIV, Europe and Central Asia have failed to tackle the epidemic, with some 136,000 people becoming newly infected with the incurable AIDS virus last year, health officials said on Thursday.

Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed 80 percent more new HIV cases in 2013 compared to 2004, meaning a crucial target to reverse the tide of AIDS in the region will be missed.

    • 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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