EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Jun 10, 2014

Genetically modified mosquitoes offer hope in malaria fight

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have found a way of genetically modifying mosquitoes to produce sperm that only creates males, offering a potential fresh approach to fighting and eventually eradicating malaria.

Researchers from Imperial College London tested a genetic method that distorts the sex ratio of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the main transmitters of the malaria parasite, so that the female mosquitoes that bite and pass the disease to humans are no longer produced.

Jun 6, 2014

WHO experts find hospital breaches worsened MERS outbreak in UAE

LONDON (Reuters) – Lapses in hospital infection control measures exacerbated an outbreak of a deadly new viral disease which has infected more than 60 people and killed at least 10 in the United Arab Emirates, health investigators said on Friday.

Reporting the findings of a five-day mission to the UAE, experts from the World Health Organisation said, however, that they found no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Jun 5, 2014

Scientists question Saudi openness on deadly MERS virus outbreak

LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) – A dramatic upward revision in the
number of people killed by the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia may
signal a fresh approach from Riyadh, but also raises new
questions about how the two-year-old outbreak has been handled.

Experts in global health and infectious diseases say
transparency with data is critical to learning more about the
virus, which until two years ago had never been seen in humans
but has now killed more than 300 people worldwide.

Jun 4, 2014

Saudi study strengthens case against camels in MERS outbreak

LONDON (Reuters) – A Saudi man who became infected with and died of the new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus contracted the disease from a camel in his own herd which was also sick, scientists said on Wednesday.

In a study which reinforces the case against camels as the prime suspects for transmitting the deadly virus from the animal world into people, researchers said that in this case it was highly likely the animal’s nasal secretions were to blame.

Jun 3, 2014

Saudi Arabia sacks minister criticized over handling of MERS

RIYADH/LONDON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has sacked Deputy Health Minister Ziad Memish who has been criticized by some international scientists over his handling of the deadly MERS virus that has infected 575 people in the kingdom and spread around the world.

Memish was a key figure in Saudi Arabia’s efforts to contain the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a virus that causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal pneumonia.

Jun 3, 2014

UK scientific panel backs potential “three-parent” IVF babies

LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) – A British expert scientific panel
gave its backing on Tuesday to potential new 3-way fertility
treatments that would for the first time allow genetically
modified embryos to be implanted into women.

The “three-parent” IVF techniques are designed to help
families with particular genetic faults who want to avoid
passing on incurable diseases to their children. They could be
available for patients in two years, the scientists told
reporters at a briefing in London.

May 22, 2014

Superbug threat as grave as climate change, say scientists

LONDON (Reuters) – Superbugs resistant to drugs pose a serious worldwide threat and demand a response on the same scale as efforts to combat climate change, infectious disease specialists said on Thursday.

Warning that a world without effective antibiotics would be “deadly”, with routine surgery, treatments for cancer and diabetes and organ transplants becoming impossible, the experts said the international response had been far too weak.

May 22, 2014

Special Report – Saudi Arabia takes heat for spread of MERS virus

LONDON (Reuters) – In a north London laboratory on a Saturday in September 2012, an email arrived from a team of virologists in the Netherlands that spooked even some of the world’s most seasoned virus handlers.

It contained details of a mysterious viral pathogen that had been found in two patients – a Qatari in intensive care in Britain, and a Saudi who died in a Jeddah hospital of pneumonia and renal failure.

May 22, 2014

Saudi Arabia takes heat for spread of MERS virus

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) – In a north London laboratory on a
Saturday in September 2012, an email arrived from a team of
virologists in the Netherlands that spooked even some of the
world’s most seasoned virus handlers.

It contained details of a mysterious viral pathogen that had
been found in two patients – a Qatari in intensive care in
Britain, and a Saudi who died in a Jeddah hospital of pneumonia
and renal failure.

May 20, 2014

cigarettes boost quitting success among smokers, study finds

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – Smokers trying to quit are 60
percent more likely to report success if they switch to
e-cigarettes than if they use nicotine products like patches or
gum, or just willpower, scientists said on Wednesday.

Presenting findings from a study of almost 6,000 smokers
over five years, the researchers said the results suggest
e-cigarettes could play an important role in reducing smoking
rates and hence cutting tobacco-related deaths and illnesses.

    • 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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