EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Jun 4, 2014

Saudi study strengthens case against camels in MERS outbreak

LONDON (Reuters) – A Saudi man who became infected with and died of the new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus contracted the disease from a camel in his own herd which was also sick, scientists said on Wednesday.

In a study which reinforces the case against camels as the prime suspects for transmitting the deadly virus from the animal world into people, researchers said that in this case it was highly likely the animal’s nasal secretions were to blame.

Jun 3, 2014

Saudi Arabia sacks minister criticized over handling of MERS

RIYADH/LONDON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has sacked Deputy Health Minister Ziad Memish who has been criticized by some international scientists over his handling of the deadly MERS virus that has infected 575 people in the kingdom and spread around the world.

Memish was a key figure in Saudi Arabia’s efforts to contain the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a virus that causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal pneumonia.

Jun 3, 2014

UK scientific panel backs potential “three-parent” IVF babies

LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) – A British expert scientific panel
gave its backing on Tuesday to potential new 3-way fertility
treatments that would for the first time allow genetically
modified embryos to be implanted into women.

The “three-parent” IVF techniques are designed to help
families with particular genetic faults who want to avoid
passing on incurable diseases to their children. They could be
available for patients in two years, the scientists told
reporters at a briefing in London.

May 22, 2014

Superbug threat as grave as climate change, say scientists

LONDON (Reuters) – Superbugs resistant to drugs pose a serious worldwide threat and demand a response on the same scale as efforts to combat climate change, infectious disease specialists said on Thursday.

Warning that a world without effective antibiotics would be “deadly”, with routine surgery, treatments for cancer and diabetes and organ transplants becoming impossible, the experts said the international response had been far too weak.

May 22, 2014

Special Report – Saudi Arabia takes heat for spread of MERS virus

LONDON (Reuters) – In a north London laboratory on a Saturday in September 2012, an email arrived from a team of virologists in the Netherlands that spooked even some of the world’s most seasoned virus handlers.

It contained details of a mysterious viral pathogen that had been found in two patients – a Qatari in intensive care in Britain, and a Saudi who died in a Jeddah hospital of pneumonia and renal failure.

May 22, 2014

Saudi Arabia takes heat for spread of MERS virus

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) – In a north London laboratory on a
Saturday in September 2012, an email arrived from a team of
virologists in the Netherlands that spooked even some of the
world’s most seasoned virus handlers.

It contained details of a mysterious viral pathogen that had
been found in two patients – a Qatari in intensive care in
Britain, and a Saudi who died in a Jeddah hospital of pneumonia
and renal failure.

May 20, 2014

cigarettes boost quitting success among smokers, study finds

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – Smokers trying to quit are 60
percent more likely to report success if they switch to
e-cigarettes than if they use nicotine products like patches or
gum, or just willpower, scientists said on Wednesday.

Presenting findings from a study of almost 6,000 smokers
over five years, the researchers said the results suggest
e-cigarettes could play an important role in reducing smoking
rates and hence cutting tobacco-related deaths and illnesses.

May 20, 2014

Vaccines group seeks $7.5 bln to protect 300 million children

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – The GAVI global vaccines alliance
issued a plea on Tuesday for $7.5 billion to help immunise
another 300 million children against life-threatening diseases
between 2016 and 2020 and save up to 6 million more lives.

GAVI said the additional investments, which it hopes to get
mainly from global health philanthropists and the governments of
developed nations, could double the total number of lives saved
through GAVI-supported vaccines to an estimated 12 million.

May 19, 2014

Researchers to study whether mobile phones affect teenage brains

LONDON (Reuters) – British researchers are launching the largest study in the world to investigate whether using mobile phones and other wireless gadgets might affect children’s brain development.

The Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones, or SCAMP, project will focus on cognitive functions such as memory and attention, which continue to develop into adolescence – just the age when teenagers start to own and use personal phones.

May 14, 2014

WHO says deadly MERS virus very serious, but not an emergency

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Concern about the deadly new
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus has “significantly
increased” but the disease is not yet a global health emergency,
the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday.

The virus, which causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal
pneumonia, has been reported in more than 500 patients, mainly
in Saudi Arabia, and has spread to neighbouring countries, as
well as in a few cases to Europe, Asia and the United States. It
kills about 30 percent of those who are infected.

    • 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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