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GSK Ebola vaccine trial seen moving to wider phase in February
19 Dec 2014 at 3:33am
GENEVA (Reuters) - Trials of GlaxoSmithKline's experimental Ebola vaccine are likely to move to a second phase in February, later than previously suggested, after a meeting of national regulators said they needed more information. The World Health Organization, which hosted a meeting of national regulatory authorities and ethics committees earlier this week, said they had thoroughly discussed all aspects of the proposed trials at the two-day meeting. ...
U.N. chief, visiting Ebola countries, urges respect for health rules
19 Dec 2014 at 3:18am
By Matthew Mpoke Bigg MONROVIA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, starting a visit to Ebola-hit countries in West Africa, urged local communities to strictly follow health regulations in the face of signs that traditional funerals are still spreading the disease. Ban arrived in Liberia on Friday at the start of a two-day tour of four nations struck by the worst ever outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever, including Sierra Leone, Guinea and Mali. ...
How GE changed tack on Russia
19 Dec 2014 at 3:16am
By Tom Bergin LONDON (Reuters) - About five years ago, General Electric Co, the largest Western player in Russia's market for medical equipment, uncovered pervasive corruption in its Russian business. Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, then chief executive of GE Germany and Developed Markets, told an investor conference in 2012 that senior management became aware of the problems around 2009. "We had to eliminate more than half of our healthcare organization because we discovered that they were happily scamming our customers, scamming against us and scamming against the government," Beccalli-Falco told the conference. A GE spokesman said Beccalli-Falco did not wish to comment, and the company declined to comment on its Russian business.
Special Report: Opaque middlemen exact high price in Russia's deals with the ...
19 Dec 2014 at 3:16am
By Tom Bergin and Stephen Grey MOSCOW/LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Russia pays hugely inflated prices for vital medical equipment made by Western companies, in part because some manufacturers channel sales through obscure intermediary companies, a Reuters examination has found. These middlemen firms, which have no easily traceable owners or offices, add mark-ups that mean Russian state hospitals frequently pay two or three times more than hospitals in the West for the same equipment. A Reuters examination of Russian customs data and state procurement records shows the price differences can be hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single item. An analysis of 20,000 transactions dated between January 2006 and July 2013 found that international companies sold Russia medical devices worth more than $2.8 billion through more than 150 obscure companies and partnerships.
One million people wounded, diseases spreading in Syria: WHO
19 Dec 2014 at 2:07am
By Oliver Holmes BEIRUT (Reuters) - One million people have been wounded during Syria's civil war and diseases are spreading as regular supplies of medicine fail to reach patients, the World Health Organization's Syria representative said. A plunge in vaccination rates from 90 percent before the war to 52 percent this year and contaminated water have added to the woes, allowing typhoid and hepatitis to advance, Elizabeth Hoff said in an interview late on Thursday. ...
Double blow for Roche as Alzheimer's, breast cancer studies fail
19 Dec 2014 at 1:05am
By Silke Koltrowitz and Ben Hirschler ZURICH/LONDON (Reuters) - Roche said on Friday it was ending a late-stage study of an experimental Alzheimer's drug after it failed to prove effective, underlining the difficulty of treating the memory-robbing disease. The Swiss drugmaker also said a breast cancer trial had failed to demonstrate the benefit of adding its new drug Kadcyla to treatment programs, damaging its hopes of broadening sales in an commercial area it already dominates. Fabian Wenner, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux, said consensus forecasts for annual Kadcyla sales of 2. ...
Eli Lilly and Adocia agree to develop fast-acting insulin
19 Dec 2014 at 12:28am
By Natalie Huet PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly and French biotech Adocia said on Friday they agreed a worldwide licensing partnership to develop an ultra-rapid insulin to treat patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The fast-acting insulin, called BioChaperone Lispro, is currently in early-stage Phase Ib studies and aims to control glucose levels better during and after meals. ...
Britain could allow women in army close combat role from 2016
19 Dec 2014 at 12:19am
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain might allow women to fight in close combat roles for the first time from 2016, the defence secretary said on Friday, in a move that would bring the British army into line with some other Western forces. Britain's army currently allows women to serve on the front line, but does not let them join units whose main function is to engage and kill the enemy. The United States, Australia and Canada are among those nations which already have women in close combat roles. ...
Japanese scientist resigns over stem cell scandal
18 Dec 2014 at 11:58pm
A researcher embroiled in a fabrication scandal that has rocked Japan's scientific establishment said Friday she would resign after failing to reproduce results of what was once billed as a ground-breaking study on stem cells. Haruko Obokata said she was dismayed that new laboratory tests have not been able to repeat her experiments, which she had claimed showed the successful conversion of an adult cell into a stem cell-like state. Her resignation came as Japan's Riken Institute formally announced that so-called "STAP" cells cannot be recreated, apparently drawing a line under the controversial study. "We have conducted verification experiments but can't repeat the STAP phenomenon," team leader Shinichi Aizawa told a nationally broadcast news conference.
Sierra Leone's leading doctor dies of Ebola
18 Dec 2014 at 11:06pm
FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone's leading doctor died of Ebola on Thursday, hours after the arrival in the country of an experimental drug that could have been used to treat him, the government's chief medical officer said. Victor Willoughby was diagnosed with Ebola last week after he treated a man with organ-related problems. The patient, a senior banker, was later diagnosed with Ebola and has since died. The drug, ZMab, was transported in frozen form on a Brussels Airlines flight that arrived overnight. ...
Minnesota links caramel apples, 2 listeria deaths
18 Dec 2014 at 8:34pm
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) ? Minnesota health officials say two people died and two others became ill this fall after eating prepackaged caramel apples contaminated with the bacterium listeria.
Disgraced Japan researcher fails to replicate 'game changing' stem cell results
18 Dec 2014 at 8:23pm
By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - A disgraced Japanese researcher has failed to replicate results hailed as a potential breakthrough in stem-cell treatment and efforts to do so will be abandoned, officials at her research institute said on Friday. The scandal involving the research, which detailed simple ways to reprogram mature cells back to an embryonic-like state, eventually led to the retraction of papers published in the influential journal Nature and tarnished the reputation of Japanese scientific research. ...
With Cuba decision, Obama hands Hillary Clinton a gift
18 Dec 2014 at 6:15pm
By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton knows a political gift when she sees one. She was quick to embrace the step this week when President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat no longer having to face an electorate, relaxed U.S. policy toward Cuba. While assailed by Republicans opposed to restoring ties with the communist-led island, the action has the power to solidify support for Democrats among increasingly influential Latino voters and appeal to voters in farm states like Iowa eager to do business in Havana. ...
Neighboring states challenge Colorado pot laws in top U.S. court
18 Dec 2014 at 4:23pm
By Daniel Wallis DENVER (Reuters) - Nebraska and Oklahoma challenged neighboring Colorado's recreational marijuana laws in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday amid complaints its pot was seeping across their borders, and Colorado vowed to defend its laws. Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said he joined Oklahoma in filing the action against Colorado, where voters chose to legalize recreational marijuana in a landmark 2012 vote even as the drug remains federally outlawed. ...
Dutch PM agrees to change health bill to avoid government collapse
18 Dec 2014 at 3:42pm
By Anthony Deutsch AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a letter to parliament late Thursday that his party would revise a health bill that was blocked in the senate, potentially staving off the collapse of his fragile center-right coalition government. Earlier on Thursday Rutte was forced to pull out of an EU summit to deal with a mounting political crisis over the bill, which has highlighted a deep divide between his Liberal party and the left-of-center Labour, with which he shares power. ...