EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Jul 7, 2015

Experts call for immediate WHO reform after Ebola exposes failings

LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) – Experts called on Tuesday for
urgent, root-and-branch changes to the World Health Organization
after an inadequate response to West Africa’s vast and deadly
Ebola outbreak.

The U.N. agency “does not currently possess the capacity or
organizational culture to deliver a full emergency public health
response”, a panel of independent experts said in a report on
the handling of the Ebola crisis.

Jul 7, 2015

WHO urges governments to raise tobacco taxes to beat smoking

LONDON (Reuters) – Governments around the world should increase taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products to save lives and generate funds for stronger health services, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

In a report entitled “The Global Tobacco Epidemic 2015″, the United Nations health agency said that too few governments make full use of tobacco taxes to dissuade people from smoking or help them to cut down and quit. It recommends that at least 75 percent of the price of a pack of cigarettes should be tax.

Jul 2, 2015

For first time, gene therapy shows promise in cystic fibrosis

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists conducting a major trial of a therapy that replaces the faulty gene responsible for cystic fibrosis say the treatment has showed significant benefit for the first time in patients’ lung function.

The technique, developed with the technology commercialization firm Imperial Innovations, replaces the defective gene behind the inherited lung disease by using inhaled molecules of DNA to deliver a normal working copy of the gene to lung cells.

Jul 1, 2015

Scientists find new evidence on GSK vaccine link to narcolepsy

LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) – Scientists investigating why a
GlaxoSmithKline flu vaccine triggered narcolepsy in some
people say they have the first solid evidence the rare sleep
disorder may be a so-called “hit-and-run” autoimmune disease.

The researchers were trying to find out why, of two
different flu vaccines widely deployed during the 2009/2010
swine flu pandemic, only one — GSK’s Pandemrix — was linked
with a spike in cases of narcolepsy.

Jun 24, 2015

Drastic acceleration of HIV fight needed to stop AIDS resurgence

LONDON, (Reuters) – The global HIV epidemic could see a resurgence in just five years without a drastic acceleration in efforts to prevent and treat the AIDS virus, the United Nations and disease experts said on Thursday.

While good progress has been made in improving access to life-saving AIDS drugs, an analysis by UNAIDS and an expert panel commissioned by The Lancet medical journal found the rate of new HIV infections is not falling fast enough.

Jun 23, 2015

WHO agency says insecticides lindane and DDT linked to cancer

LONDON (Reuters) – The insecticide lindane, once widely used in agriculture and to treat human lice and scabies, causes cancer and has been specifically linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also said that DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, probably causes cancer, with scientific evidence linking it to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), testicular cancer and liver cancer.

Jun 22, 2015

Climate change health risk is a ‘medical emergency’, experts warn

LONDON (Reuters) – The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last 50 years of gains in development and global health, experts warned on Tuesday.

Extreme weather events such as floods and heat waves bring rising risks of infectious diseases, poor nutrition and stress, the specialists said, while polluted cities where people work long hours and have no time or space to walk, cycle or relax are bad for the heart as well as respiratory and mental health.

Jun 17, 2015

Ebola vaccines in limbo expose need for more speed in trials

LONDON (Reuters) – Drugmakers’ plans to conduct vast clinical trials to test and hopefully validate the first Ebola vaccines have been thwarted by success in beating back the deadly epidemic in West Africa.

GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Johnson & Johnson are struggling to recruit volunteers with enough exposure to the disease to prove whether their vaccines are doing the job and preventing infection.

Jun 17, 2015

Korean MERS outbreak a wake-up call for increasingly mobile world: WHO

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – An outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in South Korea shows how easily diseases can spread in a connected world, but is not serious enough to warrant travel bans or other global measures, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

Members of the U.N. body’s emergency committee agreed unanimously that the outbreak, while worrying, did not qualify as a public health emergency of international concern – a rating that would have triggered a coordinated, worldwide response.

Jun 15, 2015

Why no MERS vaccine? Lack of foresight frustrates scientists

LONDON (Reuters) – Three years after the mysterious MERS virus first emerged in humans, scientists and drugmakers say there is no excuse for not having a vaccine that could have protected those now falling sick and dying in South Korea.

The facts behind the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been slow to emerge, partly due to a secretive response in Saudi Arabia, which has suffered an outbreak stretching back to 2012.

    • 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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