EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Sep 28, 2014

Scientists grapple with ethics in rush to release Ebola vaccines

LONDON (Reuters) – Normally it takes years to prove a new vaccine is both safe and effective before it can be used in the field. But with hundreds of people dying a day in the worst ever outbreak of Ebola, there is no time to wait.

In an effort to save lives, health authorities are determined to roll out potential vaccines within months, dispensing with some of the usual testing, and raising unprecedented ethical and practical questions.

Sep 26, 2014

“Collateral” death toll expected to soar in Africa’s Ebola crisis

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) – Deaths from infectious diseases
like malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia are likely to soar in West
African countries where a vast outbreak of Ebola has crushed
health systems and killed nurses and doctors.

Specialists on deadly diseases say deaths from malaria
alone, which even before the Ebola crisis killed around 100,000
a year in the West Africa region as a whole, could increase
four-fold in Ebola-hit countries as people miss out on
life-saving treatments.

Sep 23, 2014

Ever-present endemic Ebola now major concern for disease experts

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – West Africa’s Ebola epidemic is
the largest the world has ever seen, but infectious disease
experts are almost as fearful of a long-term legacy in humans as
they are about the deaths it is causing right now.

While the current outbreak is vast and out of control, even
pessimistic forecasts suggest it will eventually recede.

Sep 23, 2014

Ebola drug trials to be fast-tracked in West Africa

LONDON (Reuters) – Experimental Ebola drugs including compounds from Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Sarepta and Tekmira will be tested in affected West African states for the first time in a bid to fast-track trials, the Wellcome Trust said on Tuesday.

Announcing a 3.2 million pound ($5.25 million) grant for the work, the global health charity said the money would “enable multiple partners around the world to quickly establish clinical trials at existing Ebola treatment centers”.

Sep 22, 2014

Study of smoking cancer patients fuels e-cigarette debate

LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) – The fierce debate over whether
e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking took another twist on
Monday as a research paper on their use by cancer patients was
criticised as flawed.

The study of cancer patients who smoke found that those
using e-cigarettes as well as tobacco cigarettes were more
nicotine dependent and equally or less likely to have quit than
those who didn’t use e-cigarettes.

Sep 19, 2014

Scientists see risk of mutant airborne Ebola as remote

LONDON, Sept 19 (Reuters) – The Ebola virus raging through
West Africa is mutating rapidly as it tears a deadly path
through cities, towns and villages, but the genetic changes are
for now not giving it the ability to spread more easily.

Concern that the virus could gain capability to transmit
through the air – creating a nightmare scenario of the disease
being able to spread like a flu pandemic, killing millions – was
fuelled by a top infectious disease expert in the United States.

Sep 17, 2014

Study asks whether artificial sweeteners may drive diabetes

LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Scientists studying the effects
of artificial sweeteners in mice and humans say they have found
that eating them may increase the risk of developing glucose
intolerance, a risk factor for diabetes.

In work that raises questions over whether artificial
sweeteners – widely seen as “healthier” than sugars – should be
reassessed, the researchers said the substances altered the
balance of microbes in the gut linked to susceptibility to
metabolic diseases like diabetes.

Sep 17, 2014

First UK volunteer gets experimental GSK Ebola shot in trial

LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – The first volunteer in a
fast-tracked British safety trial of an experimental Ebola
vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline received the injection
on Wednesday, trial organisers said.

The candidate Ebola vaccine, which GSK co-developed with the
United States National Institutes of Health, has also been given
to 10 volunteers taking part in a separate trial in the United
States, and so far there were no signs of any serious adverse
reactions, doctors said.

Sep 16, 2014

Forensics suggest Richard III killed by two blows to bare head

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists in Britain have given blow-by-blow details of King Richard III’s death at the Battle of Bosworth more than 500 years ago and say two of many blows to his bare head could have killed him very swiftly.

Their analysis of the remains of the last English monarch to die in battle suggest he was attacked by one or more people, and that nine of 11 blows, clearly inflicted in battle, were to his skull and another possibly fatal blow was to his pelvis. The findings also support previous opinion that he had no helmet on.

Sep 16, 2014

Urine test for cervical cancer virus offers alternative to smear

LONDON (Reuters) – A simple urine test for the virus that causes cervical cancer could offer a less invasive and more acceptable alternative to the conventional cervical smear test, researchers said on Tuesday.

In a study comparing the accuracy of urine sample testing with smear testing conducted by a doctor, scientists from Britain and Spain found the results were good and said using the urine test to detect human papillomavirus (HPV) could lead to more women agreeing to be screened.

    • 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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