LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) – Almost 40 years after the Ebola
virus was identified in humans by scientists in a microbiology
laboratory in Belgium, pharmaceutical researchers have yet to
develop an effective drug or vaccine to fight it.
Part of the problem is that the deadly virus is rare and its
victims are often poor people living in rural areas of Africa
without well-functioning health systems. But there is also
little incentive for major pharmaceutical companies to invest in
medical solutions when there is little chance of a return.
LONDON (Reuters) – A large international team of scientists has built the clearest picture yet of how human genes are regulated in the vast array of cell types in the body – work that should help researchers target genes linked to disease.
In two major studies published in the journal Nature, the consortium mapped how a network of switches, built into human DNA, controls where and when genes are turned on and off.
LONDON (Reuters) – Peter Piot was 27, newly qualified and working in a microbiology lab in Antwerp when he received a flask of human blood contaminated with a mysterious pathogen that had been killing people in the forests of Zaire.
If he’d known then what he was to discover – that inside was Ebola, one of the most lethal infectious diseases now known in humans – he would have taken more safety precautions.
LONDON (Reuters) – Air pollution killed about 7 million people in 2012, making it the world’s single biggest environmental health risk, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
The toll, a doubling of previous estimates, means one in eight of all global deaths in 2012 was linked to polluted air and shows how reducing pollution inside and outside of people’s homes could save millions of lives in future, the United Nations health agency said.
LONDON (Reuters) – Half a million people fell sick with dangerous superbug strains of tuberculosis (TB) in 2012, but fewer than one in four were diagnosed, putting the rest at risk of dying due to the wrong medicines or no treatment at all.
Latest data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which says drug-resistant TB is a “global health security risk”, showed a third of the estimated 9 million people who contract TB in any form each year do not get the care they need.
LONDON (Reuters) – Cases of tuberculosis are falling in Europe but a failure to properly diagnose and treat dangerous drug-resistant strains of the contagious disease means it is far from under control, health experts said on Tuesday.
Every day, almost 1,000 people across the 53 countries of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European region fall sick with TB, and multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB pose a serious risk to the goal of eliminating it by 2050, the experts said.
LONDON (Reuters) – British archaeologists have found what they say is the world’s oldest complete example of a human being with metastatic cancer and hope it will offer new clues about the now common and often fatal disease.
Researchers from Durham University and the British Museum discovered the evidence of tumors that had developed and spread throughout the body in a 3,000-year-old skeleton found in a tomb in modern Sudan in 2013.
LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) – Europe’s stringent regulation
of genetically modified crops has no rational basis and should
be revamped to allow countries who want to opt out and grow GM
foods to do so, British scientific advisers said on Friday.
In an advisory report requested by the government, the
scientists said legislation on use within the European Union
(EU) of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in crops should be
decided on a national level, as it is with pharmaceuticals.
LONDON (Reuters) – Swedish researchers say they have devised a blood test that could better diagnose sports-related brain injuries and prevent American football, rugby and ice hockey players returning to the field in danger.
In findings from a study of ice hockey players, the researchers said their method can show just an hour after a head injury how severe the concussion is, whether there is a risk of long-term symptoms, and when the player can return to the sport.
LONDON (Reuters) – Oxytocin, a brain chemical known as the “love hormone”, is showing promise as a potential treatment for people with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, according to research by British and Korean scientists.
In studies of anorexic patients, researchers found oxytocin altered their tendencies to become fixated on images of fattening foods and large body shapes – suggesting it could be developed as a treatment to help them overcome unhealthy obsessions with diet.