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Infectious diseases

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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DRC faced with largest outbreak of mpox on record; The latest health stories from around the world

Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was experiencing its largest, most deadly outbreak of mpox ever, with more than 12,000 suspected cases so far this year and nearly 600 deaths, far surpassing those from the global outbreak of the same viral disease over the past …

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UK approves CRISPR gene therapy for SCD; The latest health stories from around the world

In a world first, U.K. regulators have approved a therapy that uses CRISPR, the Nobel Prize–winning gene-editing tool invented in 2012. The treatment has been shown to help people with beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease, both inherited blood disorders that involve defects in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin. It relies on removing blood stem cells …

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Genetic editing, the answer to bad cholesterol? The latest health stories from around the world

A technique for precisely rewriting the genetic code directly in the body has slashed “bad” cholesterol levels—possibly for life—in three people prone to dangerously high levels of the artery-clogging fat. The feat relied on a blood infusion of a so-called base editor, designed to disable a liver protein, PCSK9, that regulates cholesterol. https://www.science.org/content/article/base-editing-a-new-form-of-gene-therapy-sharply-lowers-bad-cholesterol?  “It is …

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Oncologist Monica Bertagnolli assigned as Director of US NIH; The latest health stories from around the world

At last, the world’s largest biomedical research agency has a permanent leader. The U.S. Senate recently voted 62-36 to confirm oncologist to direct the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). https://www.science.org/content/article/u-s-senate-confirms-monica-bertagnolli-nih-director? The confirmation of Bertagnolli, who is expected to be sworn in within days replacing acting Director Lawrence Tabak, brings relief to the biomedical research …

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gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea designated “priority pathogen” following increase in antibiotic resistance; The latest health stories from around the world

Gonorrhoea is an old affliction. The book of Leviticus mentions a contagious condition involving the continuous emission of semen and a painful erection. Only 2,500 years later, in the mid-20th century, did the discovery of antibiotics bring relief.  But not, perhaps, for long. Decades of exposure to antibiotics have led N. gonorrhoeae, the bacterium that causes the disease, …

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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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Haemoglobin: more than just blood? The latest health stories from around the world

Blood is red because it’s brimming with the oxygen-toting protein haemoglobin, but scientists have long wondered whether cells outside of the bloodstream depend on this protein as well. Now, a team of researchers from China has demonstrated that cartilage-making cells called chondrocytes manufacture and use haemoglobin, perhaps to help them survive in cartilage’s oxygen-poor environment. …

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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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