EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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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.

Nov 26, 2014

Ultra-strong graphene’s weak spot could be key to fuel cells

LONDON (Reuters) – In a discovery that experts say could revolutionize fuel cell technology, scientists in Britain have found that graphene, the world’s thinnest, strongest and most impermeable material, can allow protons to pass through it.

The researchers, led by the Nobel prize winner and discoverer of graphene Andre Geim of Manchester University, said their finding also raised the possibility that, in future, graphene membranes could be used to “sieve” hydrogen gas from the atmosphere to then generate electricity.

Nov 26, 2014

Ebola discoverer Piot sees long, bumpy road to ending epidemic

LONDON (Reuters) – West Africa’s Ebola epidemic could worsen further before abating but new infections should start to decline in all affected countries by the end of this year, a leading specialist on the disease said on Wednesday.

Peter Piot, one of the scientists who first identified the Ebola virus almost 40 years ago, said the outbreak was far from over, but said that “thanks to now massive efforts at all levels” what had been an exponential growth in numbers should soon begin to recede.

Nov 25, 2014

Fat to blame for half a million cancers a year, WHO agency says

LONDON (Reuters) – Some half a million cases of cancer a year are due to people being overweight or obese, and the problem is particularly acute in North America, the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency said on Wednesday.

In a study published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said high body mass index (BMI) has now become a major cancer risk factor, responsible for some 3.6 percent, or 481,000, of new cancer cases in 2012.

Nov 21, 2014

Saudi Arabia tackles MERS virus, still hunting source

LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has not yet traced the source of a mysterious camel virus, leaving many questions about a disease that has killed 346 people in the Kingdom.

The lack of scientific evidence about how camels contract the virus, which causes an often fatal illness called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in people, echoes wider concerns about the threat posed to human health by animal-borne pathogens, including the Ebola virus.

Nov 20, 2014

“Back boost” could help future-proof flu vaccines

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) – An international team of
scientists has found it may be possible to make seasonal flu
vaccines more effective by using an idea known as “back boost”
and pre-empting flu virus evolution.

In a study published on Thursday in the journal Science, the
University of Cambridge-led team said their finding should
enable people to be immunised against future likely flu strains
as well as ones currently circulating.

Nov 19, 2014

Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds

LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) – A banking culture that implicitly
puts financial gain above all else fuels greed and dishonesty
and makes bankers more likely to cheat, according to the
findings of a scientific study.

Researchers in Switzerland studied bank workers and other
professionals in experiments in which they won more money if
they cheated, and found that bankers were more dishonest when
they were made particularly aware of their professional role.

Nov 18, 2014

UN says fast-track plan can end global AIDS threat by 2030

LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) – A five-year, fast-track battle
against HIV could end the global threat of the AIDS epidemic by
2030, the United Nations said on Tuesday, but failing to move
quickly might allow the deadly virus to spring back.

UNAIDS said reaching its new fast-track targets would avert
nearly 28 million new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
infections by 2030, and effectively bring to an end the
worldwide health threat it poses.

Nov 17, 2014

No safety concerns yet in trials of GSK’s Ebola vaccine

LONDON (Reuters) – Almost 200 people have received GlaxoSmithKline’s experimental Ebola vaccine in trials in the United States, Britain, Mali and Switzerland, and the safety data so far are “very satisfactory”, scientists said on Monday.

The trials, which began just over two months ago, have been using healthy volunteers, rather than patients with Ebola, to test whether the vaccine is safe for humans.

Nov 17, 2014

Last-line drug resistance poses ‘alarming’ European health threat

LONDON (Reuters) – More and more infections in Europe are proving able to evade even the most powerful, last-resort antibiotics, posing an alarming threat to patient safety in the region, health officials said on Monday.

Releasing annual data on antibiotic resistant superbugs, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said bacterial infections resistant to carbapenems — a major last-line class of antibiotics used to treat hospital-acquired superbugs — are ever more common in the European Union.

    • 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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