EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Nov 13, 2014

Progress on eliminating measles has stalled, WHO warns

LONDON (Reuters) – Progress toward wiping out measles worldwide has stalled, with deaths from the highly contagious disease rising last year and poor vaccine coverage leading to large outbreaks, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

More than 145,000 people died of measles in 2013, up from 122,000 in 2012, the WHO said. Epidemics in China, Congo and Nigeria contributed to this, but there were also outbreaks in the WHO’s European region, including in Georgia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Nov 11, 2014

One in seven women risk dying in childbirth in Ebola-hit countries

LONDON (Reuters) – The rate of women dying in childbirth in West African countries hit by the Ebola epidemic is soaring, with as many as one in seven at risk of death as fear of contact with bodily fluids prevents people helping them, aid charities warned on Tuesday.

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 800,000 women in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are due to give birth in the next 12 months.

Nov 11, 2014

Studies of “vaping” brain may offer clues on smoking addiction

LONDON, Nov 11 (Reuters) – British scientists say they have
found the best way yet to analyse the effects of smoking on the
brain — by taking functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
scans of people while they puff on e-cigarettes.

In a small pilot study, the researchers used electronic
cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, to mimic the behavioural aspects of
smoking tobacco cigarettes, and say future studies could help
scientists understand why smoking is so addictive.

Nov 7, 2014

Drug-resistant superbug found in 1915 soldier killed by dysentery

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists who unlocked the genetic code of bacteria grown from a soldier who died of dysentery in World War I say it revealed a superbug already resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics decades before they were in common use.

The discovery sheds light on the history of antibiotic resistance – now a global health threat – and offers fresh clues on how to tackle dysentery, a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of children every year in developing countries.

Nov 5, 2014

GSK hepatitis C shot shows promise, bodes well for Ebola vaccines

LONDON (Reuters) – A new hepatitis C vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline based on the same technology as an experimental Ebola shot being fast-tracked through human trials has shown promise in early clinical tests, prompting strong and broad immune responses.

Researchers testing the vaccine — the first hepatitis C vaccine to reach second stage clinical trials — said their results in a group of 15 healthy human volunteers showed it was very safe and well tolerated, and generated immune responses of a strength never seen before in a vaccine against this disease.

Nov 3, 2014

Interview: Melinda Gates backs contraception for healthier, wealthier future

LONDON, (Reuters) – Giving the millions of women who need it contraception and pregnancy advice will help avoid illness, disadvantage and poverty for current and future generations, Melinda Gates said on Monday.

The co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation told Reuters she is encouraged by progress in the past two years in putting family planning at the centre of woman and child health programmes, but says more needs to be done to ensure all women can choose freely whether and when to have children.

Nov 3, 2014

Melinda Gates backs contraception for healthier, wealthier future

LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Giving the millions of women who need it contraception and pregnancy advice will help avoid illness, disadvantage and poverty for current and future generations, Melinda Gates said on Monday.

The co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation told Reuters she is encouraged by progress in the past two years in putting family planning at the center of woman and child health programs, but says more needs to be done to ensure all women can choose freely whether and when to have children.

Oct 24, 2014

WHO says Ebola vaccine plans accelerating as trials advance

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – Trials of Ebola vaccines could begin in West Africa in December, a month earlier than expected, and hundreds of thousands of doses should be available for use by the middle of next year, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Vaccines are being developed and made ready in record time by drugmakers working with regulators, the U.N. health agency said, but questions remain about their safety and efficacy which can only be settled by full clinical trials.

Oct 24, 2014

WHO expects around 200,000 Ebola vaccine doses by mid-2015

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) set out plans on Friday for speeding up development and deployment of experimental Ebola vaccines, saying hundreds of thousands of doses should be ready for use in West Africa by the middle of 2015.

The Geneva-based United Nations health agency confirmed that two leading vaccine candidates are in human clinical trials, and said another five experimental vaccines were also being developed and would begin clinical trials next year.

Oct 23, 2014

WHO concerned but ‘reasonably confident’ on international Ebola spread

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it was “reasonably confident” that the Ebola virus plaguing three West African countries had not spread into neighboring states.

Asked whether countries such as Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast might have cases of the disease crossing their borders without knowing about or reporting them, WHO assistant director general Keiji Fukuda said he considered that unlikely.

    • 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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