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Fluoridation: public health advancement or potential problem? The latest health stories from around the world

A long-simmering scientific battle assumed a new life this week, as experts clashed in a San Francisco courtroom over whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should ban fluoridation of drinking water to protect foetuses and children from the risk of neurodevelopmental problems. https://www.science.org/content/article/does-fluoride-drinking-water-lower-iq-question-looms-large-court-battle?  The case, being heard in a federal district court, “is precedent setting,” …

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Malaria vaccine rolled out in Cameroon; The latest health stories from around the world

After a 60-year quest, childhood malaria vaccinations were administered to infants and toddlers in Cameroon on 22 January, the world’s first routine immunization against the disease.  Remarkably, the RTS,S or Mosquirix, made by GlaxoSmithKline and approved for general use in 2021 by the World Health Organization (WHO) reduces all kinds of deaths among children – …

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Eli Lilly announces direct-to-patient portal for new weight loss drug; The latest health stories from around the world

Eli Lilly, maker of the anti-obesity drug Zepbound, announced last week the launch of LillyDirect, a direct-to-patient portal, allowing some patients to obtain its drug for as little as $25 a month.  The move is seen as a major shift in the way these popular medications can reach patients. https://www.medscape.com/s/viewarticle/eli-lilly-offers-obesity-drug-directly-consumers-2024a10000fl?   For many of the 42 million Americans with obesity, weight …

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Gavi pledges $1 billion for vaccine production in Africa; The latest health stories from around the world

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has committed up to $1 billion to bolster Africa’s ability to sustainably produce its own doses of lifesaving vaccines. Manufacturers based in Africa produce only 1% of the vaccine doses used on the continent. https://www.science.org/content/article/news-glance-ai-rules-europe-vaccines-africa-and-union-nih-early-career-researchers?   Last week, Gavi announced that with money left over from the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility—an …

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Biden weighs in on drug costs in US; The latest health stories from around the world

US President Joe Biden has stepped into a long-running debate about whether the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has legal authority to override an exclusive patent license granted to drug developers if they charge too much for treatments that relied on agency-funded research. In draft policy guidance, the Biden administration says federal agencies would be …

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Malaria vaccine resulted in 13% drop in deaths; The latest health stories from around the world

In a major analysis in Africa, the first vaccine approved to fight malaria cut deaths among young children by 13% over nearly 4 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported last week. Data from a pilot rollout of the vaccine, called RTS,S or Mosquirix and made by GSK, also showed a 22% reduction in severe …

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US to negotiate on prices for a number of prescription drugs; The latest health stories from around the world

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced its first list of 10 prescription drugs whose prices will be open for negotiation in 2023 and 2024. Any settled price will become effective in 2026. The HHS will be working through the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the provisions of …

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New COVID-19 vaccine to be made available next month; The latest health stories from around the world

A new COVID vaccine is due out next month, but health experts and analysts say it is likely to be coolly received even as hospitalizations from “Eris”, a variant of the Omicron form of the coronavirus, rise around the country. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/new-covid-vaccines-are-way-eris-variant-rises-2023-08-14/ Fortunately, early data suggests that the new shots will still be effective against Eris. …

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More affordable tuberculosis medication on the horizon; The latest health stories from around the world

The pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in mid-July agreed to help make a therapy critical to fighting drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) more widely available and affordable. J&J said it would allow competitors to market generic versions of the lifesaving drug, bedaquiline, in 44 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where the company has active patents. www.science.org/content/article/news-glance-ben-franklin-s-anticounterfeiting-science-s-english-language-barrier? …

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Malaria vaccine to be trialled across Africa; The latest health stories from around the world

Twelve countries across different regions in Africa are set to receive 18 million doses of the first-ever malaria vaccine over the next two years. The roll out is a critical step forward in the fight against one of the leading causes of death in the continent. www.gavi.org/news/media-room/18-million-doses-first-ever-malaria-vaccine-allocated-12-african-countries-2023 The allocations have been determined through the application …

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