EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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May 14, 2014

WHO says deadly MERS virus does not constitute global emergency

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

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

May 14, 2014

Scientists, drugmakers, charities sign UK deal on animal research

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – More than 70 medical bodies in
Britain including Big Pharma’s Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline
and AstraZeneca have signed a pledge to be more
open about their use of animals in scientific experiments.

The Concordat on Openness on Animal Research was published
on Wednesday after lengthy negotiations between scientists,
universities, medical charities, drug firms, journalists and
members of the public.

May 12, 2014

UK health authorities say second U.S. MERS case flew via London

LONDON (Reuters) – British health authorities said on Monday they had found a second case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in a person transiting through London, who flew from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to the United States on May 1.

The passenger, who is the second known MERS infected patient to have flown to the United States, was on Saudi Airlines Flight 113 from Jeddah to London, and transferred at Heathrow for onward travel, Public Health England (PHE) said in statement.

May 12, 2014

WHO wants action as alcohol kills 3.3 million people in 2012

LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) – More than 3 million people died
from using alcohol in 2012, for reasons ranging from cancer to
violence, the World Health Organisation said on Monday, as it
called on governments to do more to limit the damage.

“More needs to be done to protect populations from the
negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” said Oleg
Chestnov, a WHO expert on chronic disease and mental health.

Apr 29, 2014

In Britain, a battle to spin great science into gold

MANCHESTER/CAMBRIDGE, England, April 29 (Reuters) – It’s
mega strong, ultra light and super stretchy, and if things work
out, a wonder material discovered in Britain could change many
aspects of human existence – starting with people’s sex lives.

Safer and sensually superior condoms may not have been the
first thing on the minds of the Nobel-winning team at the
University of Manchester that isolated graphene a decade ago,
but they may be an early eye-catching use of the new
one-atom-thick material.

Apr 28, 2014

Scientists find MERS virus antibodies that may lead to treatments

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) – Scientists have found natural
human antibodies to the newly-emerging Middle East Respiratory
Syndrome (MERS) virus and say their discovery marks a step
towards developing treatments for the often fatal disease.

MERS, a SARS-like viral disease first detected in 2012 that
has caused outbreaks in the Middle East and sporadic cases
around the world, has raised international alarm in recent weeks
with a surge in infections and deaths in Saudi Arabia.

Apr 28, 2014

WHO holds emergency meeting on cross-border spread of polio

LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) began an emergency meeting with experts on Monday on how to halt the spread of the crippling polio virus across international borders in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Polio passes easily from person to person and can spread rapidly among children, especially in the kind of unsanitary conditions endured by displaced people in war-torn regions, refugee camps and areas where healthcare is limited.

Apr 25, 2014

Experts cast doubt on Saudi push for Middle East virus vaccine

LONDON (Reuters) – Official talk in Saudi Arabia of racing to develop a vaccine against a deadly new virus may be a way to reassure a fearful population, but it is scientifically wide of the mark and makes little sense in public health terms.

Experts in virology say the biochemical know-how is there to create a vaccine against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, but question why authorities would want to spend millions immunizing an entire population against a disease that has affected only a few hundred people.

Apr 10, 2014

Stockpiles of Roche Tamiflu drug are waste of money, review finds

LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) – Researchers who have fought for
years to get full data on Roche’s flu medicine Tamiflu
said on Thursday that governments who stockpile it are wasting
billions of dollars on a drug whose effectiveness is in doubt.

In a review of trial data on Tamiflu, and on
GlaxoSmithKline’s flu drug Relenza, scientists from the
respected research network the Cochrane Review said that while
the medicines can shorten flu symptoms by around half a day,
there is no good evidence behind claims they cut hospital
admissions or lessen complications of the disease.

Apr 9, 2014

Researchers, regulators and Roche row over stockpiled drug Tamiflu

LONDON (Reuters) – Researchers who have fought for years to get full data on Roche’s flu medicine Tamiflu said on Thursday that governments who stockpile it are wasting billions of dollars on a drug whose effectiveness is in doubt.

The row has drawn in the drugmaker as well as industry regulators and independent scientists. Supporters of Tamiflu said the researchers’ conclusions were flawed and insisted the drug is both safe and effective.

    • 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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