EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
Kate's Feed
Oct 7, 2014

More cases of Ebola spreading in Europe ‘unavoidable’, WHO says

LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) – More cases of the deadly Ebola virus will almost inevitably spread in Europe but the continent is well prepared to control the disease, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) regional director said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Reuters just hours after Europe’s first local case of Ebola infection was confirmed in a nurse in Spain, the WHO’s European director Zsuzsanna Jakab said further such events were “unavoidable”.

Oct 6, 2014

Nobel Prize for medicine goes to discoverers of brain’s ‘inner GPS’

STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) – British-American John O’Keefe and Norwegians May-Britt and Edvard Moser won the 2014 Nobel Prize for medicine for discovering the brain’s navigation system and giving clues as to how strokes and Alzheimer’s disrupt it.

The Nobel Assembly, which awarded the prize of 8 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million) at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute on Monday, said the discovery solved a problem that had occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries:

Oct 5, 2014

High risk Ebola could reach France and UK by end-Oct, scientists calculate

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Scientists have used Ebola disease
spread patterns and airline traffic data to predict a 75 percent
chance the virus could be imported to France by October 24, and
a 50 percent chance it could hit Britain by that date.

Those numbers are based on air traffic remaining at full
capacity. Assuming an 80 percent reduction in travel to reflect
that many airlines are halting flights to affected regions,
France’s risk is still 25 percent, and Britain’s is 15 percent.

Oct 2, 2014

HIV pandemic’s roots traced back to 1920s Kinshasa

LONDON (Reuters) – Bustling transport networks, migrant labor and changes to the sex trade in early 20th-century Congo created a “perfect storm” that gave rise to an HIV pandemic that has now infected 75 million people worldwide, researchers said on Thursday.

In an analysis of the genetic history of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, the scientists said the global pandemic almost certainly began its global spread in the 1920s in Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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.

    • 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."
    • Follow Kate