EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Aug 12, 2014

WHO backs use of experimental Ebola drugs in West Africa epidemic

LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – People infected in the West Africa Ebola outbreak can be offered untested drugs, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, but scarce supplies raise questions about who gets priority in the epidemic of the virus, which has no proven treatment.

Liberia said it planned to treat two infected doctors with an unproven Ebola medicine called ZMapp, the first Africans to receive the drug, while a Spanish priest, who the Health Ministry in Madrid said had also been given ZMapp, died.

Aug 12, 2014

WHO backs use of experimental Ebola drugs in West Africa outbreak

LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – It is ethical to offer unproven drugs or vaccines to people infected or at risk in West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak, a World Health Organization panel of medical ethics experts ruled on Tuesday, but cautioned supplies will be limited.

The panel said any provision of experimental Ebola medicines would require “informed consent, freedom of choice, confidentiality, respect for the person, preservation of dignity and involvement of the community”.

Aug 11, 2014

On Ebola’s front line, doctor finds grief and inspiration

LONDON, Aug 11 (Reuters) – After a month on the front line battling Ebola in a hospital in Sierra Leone, the memories that both haunt and inspire British doctor Tim O’Dempsey are of the children.

Many memories of children dying in isolation wards while their parents wailed outside. And one of a small girl who fought her way out of a coma and was reunited with her father.

Aug 8, 2014

WHO declares Ebola an international health emergency

LONDON/MONROVIA (Reuters) – West Africa’s Ebola epidemic constitutes an international health emergency and the virus, which has killed nearly 1,000 people, could continue spreading for months, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

“The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it,” the WHO’s director-general Margaret Chan told reporters on a telephone briefing from the WHO’s Geneva headquarters.

Aug 8, 2014

WHO declares Ebola epidemic an international health emergency

LONDON (Reuters) – West Africa’s Ebola epidemic is an “extraordinary event” and now constitutes an international health risk, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.

The Geneva-based U.N. health agency said the possible consequences of a further international spread of the outbreak, which has killed almost 1,000 people in four West African countries, were “particularly serious” in view of the virulence of the virus.

Aug 7, 2014

Scientists retract narcolepsy study linked to GSK vaccine

By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters – Scientists who believed they had started to decipher links between a GlaxoSmithKline H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine and the sleep disorder narcolepsy have retracted a study after saying they cannot replicate their findings.

The paper, originally published in the journal Science Translational Medicine in December 2013, suggested narcolepsy can sometimes be triggered by a scientific phenomenon known as “molecular mimicry,” offering a possible explanation for its link to GSK’s “swine flu” vaccine, Pandemrix.

Aug 6, 2014

Study finds a gene mutation increases breast cancer risk to 1 in 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Women with mutations in a gene called PALB2 have a one in three chance of developing breast cancer by age 70, according to research that suggests PALB2 is almost as important a risk factor as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are widely known as breast cancer risk genes. Women with a mutation in one or both often decide to have their breasts removed so they do not develop the disease.

Aug 6, 2014

WHO consults ethics experts on wider use of experimental Ebola drugs

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The use of an experimental drug on two U.S. charity workers with the deadly Ebola virus has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider the implications of making such treatments more widely available, it said on Wednesday.

The Geneva-based agency, which is hosting a two-day Emergency Committee of experts to decide on the international response to the disease that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa, said it would convene a meeting of medical ethics experts early next week.

Aug 5, 2014

Scientific review finds aspirin significantly cuts cancer rates

LONDON (Reuters) – Taking a small daily dose of aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of developing – or dying from – bowel, stomach and oesophageal cancer, according to a large review of scientific studies.

Researchers who analyzed all available evidence from studies and clinical trials assessing benefits and harm found that taking aspirin for 10 years could cut bowel cancer cases by around 35 percent and deaths from the disease by 40 percent.

Aug 5, 2014

WHO urged to allow experimental drugs in ‘dire’ Ebola outbreak

LONDON, (Reuters) – Three of the world’s leading Ebola specialists called on Tuesday for experimental drugs and vaccines to be offered to people in West Africa, where a vast outbreak of the deadly disease is raging in three countries.

Noting that American aid workers who contracted the disease in Liberia were given an unapproved medicine before being evacuated back to the United States, the specialists – including Peter Piot, who co-discovered Ebola in 1976 – said Africans affected by the same outbreak should get the same chance.

    • 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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