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Alabama declares frozen embryos to legally classify as people; The latest health stories from around the world

The Supreme Court of Alabama’s ruling last week declaring frozen embryos at fertility clinics to be people has upended patient care there. The state’s two leading private in vitro fertilization providers as well as the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) paused all IVF procedures earlier this week while officials sort through the legal risks …

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Example of an Ebola treatment unit

New data reveals Ebola vaccine reduces mortality by half; The latest health stories from around the world

There’s welcome news in the battle against the Ebola virus, an infectious disease that for years had almost no treatments or remedies.  Outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus flare up in parts of Africa almost every year, and they’re vicious.  The virus kills about half the people it infects. But a new study published in The …

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Measles on the rise in Europe; The latest health stories from around the world

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in December that its European region (which extends into parts of western and central Asia) saw an “alarming” increase in measles cases – from under 1,000 in 2022 to more than 30,000 last year. www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2024/02/08/1229540182/its-no-surprise-theres-a-global-measles-outbreak-but-the-numbers-are-staggering?  The WHO’s most recent global numbers, released in November, reveal that measles cases increased worldwide by 18% …

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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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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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Opioid addiction settlement reached with US Consultancy firm; The latest health stories from around the world

Consulting firm McKinsey & Co has agreed to pay $78 million to resolve claims by U.S. health insurers and benefit plans that it fuelled an epidemic of opioid addiction through its work for drug companies including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma. https://www.reuters.com/legal/mckinsey-pay-78-million-us-opioid-settlement-with-health-plans-2023-12-30/  The settlement was disclosed in papers filed on Friday (29 Dec) in federal court …

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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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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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