NHS England reconsidered decision on HIV prevention treatment PrEP

NHS England made plans to reconsider its previously made decision not to fund the new HIV treatment pre exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

PrEP is a new way of using anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), which are usually used for treating people with diagnosed HIV, to stop those at the very highest risk from contracting the virus.

NHS earlier said that local authorities are responsible to offer HIV prevention services and it will no longer consider whether to commission PrEP.

Mismanagement of dementia cost UK healthcare system £1bn annually: Report

The mismanagement of dementia each year has cost the British health and social care system nearly £1bn, according to a report by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK).

The failure to prevent, diagnose, and treat depression, diabetes and urinary tract infections (UTIs) in people with dementia has a devastating impact on quality of life, and results in earlier deaths.

Titled ‘Dementia and Comorbidities: Ensuring parity of care’, the report revealed that people with dementia are less likely to have depression, diabetes or urinary tract infections diagnosed, and those who do are less likely to receive the same help to manage and treat these comorbidities.

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Australian researchers confirmed Atovaquone’s ability to combat malaria parasite


Researchers at the University of Melbourne, Australia, discovered that an anti-malarial drug called Atovaquone, which was thought to be ineffective, has the ability to combat the malaria parasite.

Introduced in 2000, Atovaquone is safe for pregnant women and children. However, it was phased out of use because the malaria parasite developed resistance to it.

According to the latest study, despite some malaria parasites developing a genetic mutation that protected them against the drug in early life, the mutation eventually killed the parasites by stopping production of an essential type of energy as they grew.

NICE recommended PTC’s Translarna to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended PTC Therapeutics’ Translarna (ataluren) for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) caused by a nonsense mutation in England.

Translarna is a protein restoration therapy, designed to enable the formation of a functioning protein in patients with genetic disorders caused by a nonsense mutation.

A nonsense mutation is an alteration in the genetic code that prematurely halts the synthesis of an essential protein.

FDA approved use of orfadin oral suspension to treat Hereditary Tyrosinemia Type 1

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Swedish Orphan Biovitrum’s (Sobi’s) orfadin oral suspension for the treatment of Hereditary Tyrosinemia Type 1 (HT-1).

Orfadin is a synthetic reversible inhibitor of 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase that can be used to cure HT-1.

HT-1 is a rare genetic disease affecting infants and children and the ones suffering from HT-1 face problems breaking down an amino acid called tyrosine.

UK researchers planned to investigate sperm boosting capability of lycopene

Researchers at the University of Sheffield, UK, planned to launch a study investigating a nutrient that could boost male fertility.

Lycopene, a naturally occurring chemical that makes tomatoes red, is believed to boost sperm count by up to 70%, according to a similar study held by Cleveland Clinic’s Centre for Reproductive Medicine in the US.

The latest 12-week study aims to find out whether increase in blood lycopene levels can help improve sperm quality.

US firm Protein Sciences and partners developed new Zika virus vaccine

US-based vaccine development firm Protein Sciences reached an agreement with Sinergium Biotech and Mundo Sano to co-develop a new vaccine against the Zika virus.

Through using Protein Sciences’ proprietary technology, the companies will develop the vaccine based on recombinant variations of the E protein from the Zika virus.

Protein Sciences has produced similar vaccine candidates against the West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis virus, which were shown to neutralise their respective viruses in preclinical studies.

New study identified fertility app as effective alternative to contraceptive pill


NaturalCycles, a new fertility app, was identified as an effective hormone-free alternative to the contraceptive pill for preventing and monitoring pregnancies, a recent study has revealed.

Developed by Dr Elina Berglund and Dr Raoul Scherwitzl, the new app is believed to analyse a woman’s temperature and ovulation tests using an algorithm to identify fertile days.

The app notifies the user about when she has ovulated or is likely to ovulate in her next cycle, thereby identifying when women can and cannot get pregnant with high accuracy.

AbbVie and University of Chicago collaborated on cancer research


Biopharmaceutical company AbbVie collaborated with the University of Chicago to advance cancer research over the next five years.

The collaboration agreement is aimed at improving the pace of discovery and advance medical research in oncology at both organisations.

As per the agreed terms, AbbVie will fund preclinical research, clinical trials and possible future programmes at the university resulting from this partnership.

WHO declared Europe malaria-free

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Europe has become the world’s first region to completely eradicate malaria, with zero cases reported last year.

The number of malaria cases in Europe has dropped from 90,712 in 1995, to zero cases last year. The most recent case of indigenous transmission was reported in Tajikistan in 2014.

The malaria-free status has been achieved through strong political commitment, improved detection and surveillance of malaria cases, integrated strategies for mosquito control with community involvement, cross-border collaboration and communication to people at risk.