EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Mar 11, 2015

Mutating H7N9 bird flu may pose pandemic threat, scientists warn

LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) – A wave of H7N9 bird flu in
China that has spread into people may have the potential to
emerge as a pandemic strain in humans, scientists said on
Wednesday.

The H7N9 virus, one of several strains of bird flu known to
be able to infect humans, has persisted, diversified and spread
in chickens across China, the researchers said, fuelling a
resurgence of infections in people and posing a wider threat.

Mar 5, 2015

Guinea to start final trials of Ebola vaccines this week

LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – Final stage trials of an Ebola vaccine being developed by Merck and NewLink Genetics will begin in Guinea on March 7, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Signaling global health authorities’ determination to see through trials despite a sharp drop in cases in the West Africa epidemic, the WHO said a second shot, developed by GlaxoSmithKline will be tested “in a sequential study, as supply becomes available”.

Mar 5, 2015

Crowdfunding psychedelics: LSD brain-imaging study seeks funds

LONDON (Reuters) – British scientists are turning to crowdfunding to complete the first scientific study ever to image the brain of someone “tripping” on the psychedelic drug LSD.

The study, part of a psychedelic research project the scientists say could revolutionize understanding of the human brain, is led by neuroscientists at Imperial College London who now need around 25,000 pounds ($38,000) to finish their work.

Mar 4, 2015

Spider venom may hold chemical keys to new painkillers

LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) – Scientists who analysed
countless chemicals in spider venom say they have identified
seven compounds that block a key step in the body’s ability to
pass pain signals to the brain.

In research they said could one day lead to a new class of
potent painkillers, the scientists focused on 206 species of
spider and searched for molecules in the venom that block nerve
activity, particular via so-called “Nav1.7 channels”.

Feb 27, 2015

Study on biology of chronic fatigue illness stirs debate

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – A team of scientists said on
Friday they had found “robust evidence” that a condition called
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a biological as opposed to a
psychological disorder, but some experts questioned the
findings.

The team from Columbia University in the United States
identified in their research distinct immune changes in patients
with CFS — markers they said pointed to distinct disease stages
and would lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

Feb 27, 2015

Watch out for nasty global flu surprises, WHO warns

LONDON (Reuters) – The world remains highly vulnerable to a possible severe flu pandemic and governments should increase surveillance, vigilance and preparedness, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

“Nothing about influenza is predictable – including where the next pandemic might emerge and which virus might be responsible,” the United Nations health agency warned.

Feb 26, 2015

UK lawmakers demand new EU rules on genetically modified crops

LONDON (Reuters) – EU rules that prevent genetically modified crops from being grown in the UK, even after they pass rigorous safety tests, are not fit for purpose and should be totally reformed, British lawmakers said on Thursday.

Members of parliament’s science and technology committee said the EU regulation is driven more by politics than science.

Feb 25, 2015

WHO calls for more measles vaccination in Europe as large outbreaks persist

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization in
Europe called on Wednesday for measles vaccination campaigns to
be stepped up across the region after recording 22,000 cases of
the highly infectious disease since the start of 2014.

Saying she was “taken aback” by high case numbers, Zsuzsanna
Jakab, the U.N. health agency’s European director, said the
22,149 reported cases from seven countries threatened the
region’s goal of eliminating measles by the end of 2015.

Feb 25, 2015

Clinically depressed 3 times more likely to commit violent crime

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – People diagnosed with major
depression are around three times more likely than the general
population to commit violent crimes such as robbery, sexual
offences and assault, psychiatric experts said on Wednesday.

In a study based on some 47,000 people, the scientists
emphasised, however, that the overwhelming majority of depressed
people are neither violent nor criminal and should not be
stigmatised.

Feb 24, 2015

Britain becomes first nation to legalize three-parent babies

LONDON (Reuters) – - Britain will become the first nation to legalize a “three-parent” IVF technique which doctors say can prevent some inherited incurable diseases but which critics fear will effectively lead to “designer babies”.

After more than three hours of debate, lawmakers in parliament’s upper house voted on Tuesday for a change in the law to allow the treatments, echoing a positive vote in the lower house earlier this month.

    • 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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