EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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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.

May 20, 2014

Vaccines group seeks $7.5 bln to protect 300 million children

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – The GAVI global vaccines alliance
issued a plea on Tuesday for $7.5 billion to help immunise
another 300 million children against life-threatening diseases
between 2016 and 2020 and save up to 6 million more lives.

GAVI said the additional investments, which it hopes to get
mainly from global health philanthropists and the governments of
developed nations, could double the total number of lives saved
through GAVI-supported vaccines to an estimated 12 million.

May 19, 2014

Researchers to study whether mobile phones affect teenage brains

LONDON (Reuters) – British researchers are launching the largest study in the world to investigate whether using mobile phones and other wireless gadgets might affect children’s brain development.

The Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones, or SCAMP, project will focus on cognitive functions such as memory and attention, which continue to develop into adolescence – just the age when teenagers start to own and use personal phones.

May 14, 2014

WHO says deadly MERS virus very serious, but not an emergency

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Concern about the deadly new
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus has “significantly
increased” but the disease is not yet a global health emergency,
the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday.

The virus, which causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal
pneumonia, has been reported in more than 500 patients, mainly
in Saudi Arabia, and has spread to neighbouring countries, as
well as in a few cases to Europe, Asia and the United States. It
kills about 30 percent of those who are infected.

May 14, 2014

WHO says deadly MERS virus does not constitute global emergency

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Concern about the deadly new
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus has “significantly
increased” but the disease does not yet constitute a global
public health emergency, the World Health Organisation (WHO)
said on Wednesday.

The virus, which causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal
pneumonia, has been reported in more than 500 patients in Saudi
Arabia alone and has spread to neighbouring countries and in a
few cases, to Europe and Asia. It kills about 30 percent of
those who are infected.

May 14, 2014

Scientists, drugmakers, charities sign UK deal on animal research

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – More than 70 medical bodies in
Britain including Big Pharma’s Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline
and AstraZeneca have signed a pledge to be more
open about their use of animals in scientific experiments.

The Concordat on Openness on Animal Research was published
on Wednesday after lengthy negotiations between scientists,
universities, medical charities, drug firms, journalists and
members of the public.

May 12, 2014

UK health authorities say second U.S. MERS case flew via London

LONDON (Reuters) – British health authorities said on Monday they had found a second case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in a person transiting through London, who flew from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to the United States on May 1.

The passenger, who is the second known MERS infected patient to have flown to the United States, was on Saudi Airlines Flight 113 from Jeddah to London, and transferred at Heathrow for onward travel, Public Health England (PHE) said in statement.

    • 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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