The United States government is buying enough of a new smallpox medicine to treat two million people in the event of a bioterrorism attack, and took delivery of the first shipment of it last week. But the purchase has set off a debate about the lucrative contract, with some experts saying the government is buying too much of the drug at too high a price.
A small company, Siga Technologies, developed the drug in recent years. Whether the $463 million order is a boondoggle or a bargain depends on which expert is talking. The deal will transform the finances of Siga, which is controlled by Ronald O. Perelman, a billionaire financier, philanthropist and takeover specialist.
Smallpox was eradicated by 1980, and the only known remaining virus is in government laboratories in the United States and Russia. But there have long been rumors of renegade stocks that could be sprayed in airports or sports stadiums. Experts say the virus could also be re-engineered into existence in a sophisticated genetics lab.
New drug being developed using compound found in red wine ‘could help humans live until they are 150′
Drugs that could combat ageing and help people to live to 150-years-old may be available within five years, following landmark research.
The new drugs are synthetic versions of resveratrol which is found in red wine and is believed to have an anti-ageing effect as it boosts activity of a protein called SIRT1.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has been testing the medications on patients suffering with medical conditions including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
The work proves that a single anti-ageing enzyme in the body can be targeted, with the potential to prevent age-related diseases and extend lifespans.
As each of the 117 drugs tested work on the single enzyme through a common mechanism is means that a whole new class of anti-ageing drugs is now viable, which could ultimately prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes.
Genetics professor David Sinclair, based at Harvard University, said: ‘Ultimately, these drugs would treat one disease, but unlike drugs of today, they would prevent 20 others.
‘In effect, they would slow ageing.’
The target enzyme, SIRT1, is switched on naturally by calorie restriction and exercise, but it can also be enhanced through activators.
A major trial of a new booster vaccine has ended in failure, marking a major setback in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).
It was the first big study in infants since the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine was introduced in 1921.
BCG is only partially effective against the bacterium that causes TB, which is why several international teams are working on new vaccines.
The latest, known as MVA85A, failed to protect babies who had already had BCG.
The trial, in South Africa, involved 2,794 healthy children aged four to six months, half of whom received MVA85A and the rest a placebo.
They were followed up for an average of two years.
The researchers, reporting in the Lancet medical journal, found 32 cases of TB in those who had received the vaccine compared with 39 in the placebo group.
This gave an effectiveness of 17%, which is so low as to be statistically non-significant.
New research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that men who take vitamin C supplements regularly run a higher risk of developing kidney stones. The study, which is published in the scientific periodical JAMA Internal Medicine, did not however observe an increased risk between kidney stones and multivitamins – which contain lower concentrations of vitamin C.
The research is based on data from a large population-based study of men from Västmanland and Örebro counties, who were monitored for 11 years. A total of 23,355 men were identified who had no history of kidney stones and who took either no dietary supplements or supplements in the form of vitamin C only. During the study period, 436 of the participants developed kidney stones that required medical attention. The researchers then compared the risk of kidney stones in vitamin C-takers with that in men who did not take any supplements. The analysis was then repeated for men who took multivitamins.
The results of the study indicate that men who take vitamin C supplements (typically 1000 mg per tablet) are twice as likely to develop kidney stones as men who do not take any dietary supplements. The risk was also found to increase with the frequency of vitamin C supplement use. The regular use of multivitamins was not found to be associated with the risk of kidney stones.
Big brother to log your drinking habits and waist size as GPs are forced to hand over confidential records
GPs are to be forced to hand over confidential records on all their patients’ drinking habits, waist sizes and illnesses.
The files will be stored in a giant information bank that privacy campaigners say represents the ‘biggest data grab in NHS history’.
They warned the move would end patient confidentiality and hand personal information to third parties.
The data includes weight, cholesterol levels, body mass index, pulse rate, family health history, alcohol consumption and smoking status.
Diagnosis of everything from cancer to heart disease to mental illness would be covered. Family doctors will have to pass on dates of birth, postcodes and NHS numbers.
Officials insisted the personal information would be made anonymous and deleted after analysis.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272166/Big-brother-log-drinking-habits-waist-size.html#ixzz2JlSGvuMw
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Back in 2011, the Office of National Drug Control Policy released a list of strategies for combating prescription pill abuse. From a civil liberties standpoint, one strategy in particular stood out: “Identify and seek to remove administrative and regulatory barriers to ‘pill mill’ and prescriber investigations that impair investigations while not serving another policy goal.” Last year I wondered what the DEA and the ONDCP might do to “remove” barriers that are meant to protect patient privacy. The ACLU has an answer for us:
The Drug Enforcement Administration is trying to access private prescription records of patients in Oregon without a warrant, despite a state law forbidding it from doing so. The ACLU and its Oregon affiliate are challenging this practice in a new case that raises the question of whether the Fourth Amendment allows federal law enforcement agents to obtain confidential prescription records without a judge’s prior approval. It should not.
In 2009, the Oregon legislature created the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which tracks prescriptions for certain drugs dispensed by Oregon pharmacies, including all of the medications listed above. The program was intended to help physicians prevent drug overdoses by their patients and more easily recognize signs of drug abuse. Because the medical information revealed by these prescription records is highly sensitive, the legislature created robust privacy and security protections for the PDMP, including a requirement that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before requesting records for use in an investigation. But despite those protections, the DEA has been requesting prescription records from the PDMP using administrative subpoenas which, unlike warrants, do not involve demonstrating probable cause to a neutral judge.
Louisiana Will Eliminate Health Benefits For HIV Patients, Poor Children, And First Time Moms This Week
Last week, Louisiana’s poor and terminally ill residents won a surprising victory when Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced that his state would not stop providing hospice care to its Medicaid beneficiaries. Unfortunately, that’s about the only piece of good news for low-income Louisianans’ health coverage, as the state is still set to implement massive cuts for Medicaid programs that “provide behavioral health services for at-risk children, offer case management visits for low-income HIV patients and pay for at-home visits by nurses who teach poor, first-time mothers how to care for their newborns” this Friday.
Breakthrough Australian research mapping how insulin works at a molecular level could open the door to novel new diabetes treatments, ending daily needle jabs for millions, scientists have announced.
A Melbourne team have been able to lay out for the first time how the insulin hormone binds to the surface of cells, triggering the passage of glucose from the bloodstream to be stored as energy.
Lead researcher Mike Lawrence on Thursday said the discovery, more than 20 years in the making, would make new and more effective kinds of diabetes medication possible.
“Until now we have not been able to see how these molecules interact with cells,” said Lawrence, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Americans are battling a severe bout of flu that has arrived earlier than expected, leaving many pharmacy shelves and clinics lacking flu vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control each year monitor flu strains around the world to determine which will circulate in the United States. This year’s vaccine targets three strains: two strains of Influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2), one of Influenza B, according to the CDC.
But local doctors are seeing a sizeable number of patients with influenza-like illnesses, or ILI, who have received flu shots.
“The flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it’s about 60 to 70 percent effective for healthy individuals and even less effective for elderly people or people with low immune systems,” said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.
MAE SOT, Thailand — Clipboard in hand, Dr Francois Nosten worked his way down a ward of malaria patients. He stopped in front of five-year-old Ayemyint Than, who sat to attention and smiled. The smile told Nosten as much as his lines of graphs and figures.
“She’s doing well,” he said, moving to an older man, whose pale face and dull sunken eyes told a very different story. “Day five, and he’s still positive?” he asked another of the doctors. “That’s not very good. It means he was very slow to clear the parasite, no?”
To Nosten, it was further evidence of an alarming rise in resistance to artemisinin, currently the front-line drug in the treatment of malaria. He fears it could be the start of a global “nightmare” in which millions of people could lose their lives.
“We have to beat this resistance, win this race and eliminate the parasite before it’s too late. That’s our challenge now,” he said.
He said that artemisinin should take about 24 hours to deal with the parasite, but it was now taking three or four days in some cases. “We are going to see patients that don’t respond to the treatment anymore,” he warned.