EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Dec 4, 2014

UN says $25 spent on sexual health per woman per year would reduce deaths

By Kate Kelland

LONDON(Reuters) – Spending $25 per woman per year on full sexual health services would dramatically reduce mother and baby deaths and give women the choice of smaller, healthier and more productive families, according to a UN report on Thursday.

The report, by the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA and the Guttmacher Institute, described “a staggering lack of basic sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries” which means 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy don’t have access to modern contraceptives to help them.

Dec 3, 2014

Scientists map genetic diversity of sub-Saharan Africa

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have made the most comprehensive map yet of African genetic variation and say it should help them learn more about the role genes play in diseases such as malaria, hemorrhagic fever and hypertension in populations there.

Publishing the findings in the journal Nature on Wednesday, Deepti Gurdasani of Britain’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said that despite Africa being the world’s most genetically diverse region, relatively little is known about potential genetic risks for disease among its populations.

Dec 2, 2014

No serious side effects in Merck/Newlink Ebola vaccine test

LONDON (Reuters) – The first people vaccinated with an experimental Ebola shot being developed by Merck and NewLink have had no serious side effects so far, but a few experienced mild fever, Swiss researchers said on Tuesday.

The shot, one of several being fast-tracked through clinical trials in the hope they can be approved for use in the Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa, is undergoing initial human safety tests at the University Hospitals of Geneva.

Dec 1, 2014

HIV’s ability to cause AIDS is weakening over time, study finds

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Rapid evolution of HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, is slowing its ability to cause AIDS, according to a study of more than 2,000 women in Africa.

Scientists said the research suggests a less virulent HIV could be one of several factors contributing to a turning of the deadly pandemic, eventually leading to the end of AIDS.

Dec 1, 2014

AIDS campaigners say pandemic has finally reached tipping point

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – The world has finally reached “the
beginning of the end” of the AIDS pandemic that has infected and
killed millions in the past 30 years, according to a leading
campaign group fighting HIV.

The number of people newly infected with HIV over the last
year was lower than the number of HIV-positive people who joined
those getting access to the medicines they need to take for life
to keep AIDS at bay.

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.

    • 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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