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Covid-19

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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COVID-19 surge flying under the radar? The latest health stories from around the world

Is a surge of COVID happening? With lots of folks taking at-home tests and not reporting the results, how do we know the data that’s out there is accurate?  “The most reliable data shows that a surge is happening,” says Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport.  Testing data may not be as …

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Wolbachia trials show promising results for reducing Dengue; The latest health stories from around the world

Looking at the year ahead in 2024, a strategy of releasing lab-modified mosquitoes to prevent the spread of dengue fever is poised to scale up after a series of successes. The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, developed and tested by the non-profit World Mosquito Program (WMP), carry the bacterium Wolbachia pipientis, which blocks them from transmitting certain viruses and spreads …

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WHO declares JN.1 COVID-19 variant a “variant of interest; The latest health stories from around the world

For the first time since it declared an end to the global Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 on 05 May,  the World Health Organization (WHO) has called the COVID-19 variant JN.1 a standalone “variant of interest.” WHO has gone further to state that JN.1 will drive an increase in cases of the virus. https://www.medscape.com/s/viewarticle/covid-strain-jn-1-now-variant-interest-who-says-2023a1000w73?  JN.1 …

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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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Project NextGen unveils contracts for vaccine development support; The latest health stories from around the world

Six months after announcing the $5 billion Project NextGen to develop treatments and vaccines that can “stay ahead of COVID-19,” the U.S. government has awarded 20 contracts that reveal what much of that sum will support. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on 13 October that up to $1.2 billion will go …

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Strain of flu eradicated during pandemic? The latest health stories from around the world

An influenza virus variant that circulated widely before the COVID-19 pandemic has disappeared, leading an expert group that advises the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend last week that it no longer be included in flu vaccines. https://www.science.org/content/article/news-glance-more-success-fusion-medical-tests-under-scrutiny-and-grizzly-reintroduction?  The strain, known as Yamagata, has not been detected since March 2020, and some scientists suspect it …

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Nobel Prize awarded for COVID-19 mRNA vaccine development; The latest health stories from around the world

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2023/press-release/  The discoveries by the two Nobel Laureates were critical for developing effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 during the pandemic …

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New monovalent COVID-19 vaccines approved in US; The latest health stories from around the world

After the US Food and Drug Administration authorized new monovalent COVID vaccines on early last week, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices backed the decision a day later with a nearly unanimous vote in favour of universal XBB-containing shots. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/996378?  Reports of a mutating virus and COVID hospitalisations of about 17,000 people a …

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