EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Feb 17, 2015

Plain tobacco packs likely to deter smoking, studies show

LONDON (Reuters) – Studies on the health impact of “plain” or standardized cigarette packs suggest they can deter non-smokers from taking up the habit and may cut the number of cigarettes smokers get through, scientists said on Tuesday.

In a collection of scientific papers in the journal Addiction, researchers said that while standardized packs were still too new to provide substantial evidence, studies so far showed they were likely to reduce smoking rates.

Feb 10, 2015

Gilead faces challenge to European patent on pricey hep C drug

LONDON (Reuters) – Global health charity Medecins du Monde (MdM) launched a legal challenge on Tuesday to a European patent held by U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc which it accused of charging “exorbitant” prices for a hepatitis C drug.

Arguing that Gilead is “abusing” its patent on Sovaldi, known generically as sofosbuvir, MdM said its challenge marked the first time in Europe a medical charity has used this method to try and improve patients’ access to medicines.

Feb 9, 2015

The fat fight: Study fuels row over UK, U.S. diet guidelines

LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Nutrition and health specialists
criticised a study on Monday which argued that dietary fat
advice given in the United States and Britain was based on
flimsy evidence and should not have been introduced.

The study, published in the Open Heart journal, said
national advice on fat consumption issued to millions of Britons
and Americans in 1977 and 1983 with the aim of reducing heart
disease “lacked any solid trial evidence to back it up”.

Feb 5, 2015

WHO still concerned about spread of Saudi MERS virus

LONDON (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it remained worried about the spread of MERS, a respiratory disease that has infected and killed hundreds of people, overwhelmingly in Saudi Arabia.

In an update issued after a meeting of its emergency committee on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the United Nations health agency said more must be done to track the virus, which is known to have infected at least 965 people, of whom some 357 have died.

Feb 5, 2015

Review calls for global fund to fight dangerous superbugs

LONDON (Reuters) – A global fund should be created to speed development of much-needed new antibiotics to counter the growing threat of drug-resistant superbugs, a British-government backed review said on Thursday.

The review, headed by the leading economist and former Goldman Sachs chief Jim O’Neill, said far too little is currently invested in research that could lead to new drugs to fight drug-resistant bacterial and viral infections.

Feb 3, 2015

Only 40 percent of Ebola funds reached target countries: study

LONDON (Reuters) – Almost $2.9 billion was pledged by the end of 2014 in donations to fight West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, yet only around 40 percent had actually reached affected countries, researchers said on Tuesday.

A study by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that tracked international donations showed barely $1.09 billion had reached the worst affected countries by the end of last year, they said.

Feb 3, 2015

Britain votes on allowing world’s first three-parent IVF babies

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain on Tuesday could become the first country to allow a “three-parent” IVF technique which doctors say will prevent some inherited incurable diseases but which critics see as a step towards creating designer babies.

Parliament will vote on the technique, called mitochondrial donation, which would be a medical world first for Britain but is fiercely disputed by some religious groups and other critics.

Feb 1, 2015

International campaigners urge UK to allow ‘three-parent’ IVF babies

LONDON, (Reuters) – Campaigners urged British lawmakers on Sunday to seize a chance to become the first in the world to allow three-way fertility treatments to families who want to avoid passing on incurable diseases to their children.

In an open letter ahead of a parliamentary vote scheduled for Tuesday, charities and advocacy groups said the opportunity “offers families the first glimmer of hope that they might be able to have a baby that will live without pain and suffering.”

Feb 1, 2015

International campaigners urge UK to allow “3-parent” IVF babies

LONDON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Campaigners urged British
lawmakers on Sunday to seize a chance to become the first in the
world to allow three-way fertility treatments to families who
want to avoid passing on incurable diseases to their children.

In an open letter ahead of a parliamentary vote scheduled
for Tuesday, charities and advocacy groups said the opportunity
“offers families the first glimmer of hope that they might be
able to have a baby that will live without pain and suffering.”

Feb 1, 2015

Analysis: In pursuit of next-generation Ebola stockpile vaccines

LONDON (Reuters) – As West Africa’s devastating Ebola outbreak begins to dwindle, scientists are looking beyond the endgame at the kind of next-generation vaccines needed for a vital stockpile to hit another epidemic hard and fast.

Determined not to lose scientific momentum that could make the world’s first effective Ebola interventions a reality, researchers say the shots, as well as being proven to work, must be cheap, easy to handle in Africa and able to hit multiple virus strains.

    • 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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