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Hepatitis C therapy shows promise
Date: 2012-11-13 19:21:16

Pharmaceutical company Gilead's stock price rose to $72.73 per share, the highest it's been in nearly 20 years, after its hepatitis C treatment successfully treated patients involved in an experimental trial, reported Bloomberg.

Gilead is one of several companies racing to find a treatment for hepatitis C that works quickly and without side effects. Rival manufacturers Achillion Pharmaceuticals and Vertex Pharmaceuticals showed a decline in the marketplace - 20 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively - after the news of Gilead's success broke, according to Bloomberg.

"In 2013, given that Gilead's regimen has the best overall profile (efficacy, safety, convenience), we anticipate a significant amount of warehousing," wrote Ravi Mehrotra, an analyst for Credit Suisse, in a research note.

Runner up... Full Story

Mothers with influenza linked to children with autism
Date: 2012-11-14 22:28:05

Recent research, which is slated to be published in the journal Pediatrics, found that pregnant women who contract influenza or suffer a fever for more than a week may be more likely to give birth to a child who develops autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The study, which was a collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and colleagues at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, looked at data acquired from 96,736 Danish children from 1997 to 2003, Medical News Today reported. The mothers of the children were also asked about what illnesses they experienced during their pregnancy.

The research revealed that respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, genital infections, colds and sinus infections were not linked to increased rates of ASD, whereas mothers who caught influenza during their maternity had twice the risk of giving birth to a baby with the disorder. Fevers that lasted more than a week were also shown to increase the risk of giving birth to a baby with ASD by nearly threefold, according to Medical News Today.

The researchers said that mothers who have a fever or contract a flu should not be worried, and that 98 percent of pregnant women who did suffer from one of these ailments, which can be detected with a lab test, did not give birth to a child with ASD, according to the news source.

Autism facts... Full Story

New antibiotic is discovered by Galapagos
Date: 2012-11-26 23:41:57

The biotechnology company Galapagos recently discovered a new strand of antibiotics that may be effective in combating bacterial infections that were previously resistant to antibiotic treatments, Reuters reported.

The news source noted that the antibiotic works by impeding the growth of bacteria by targeting a specific enzyme. In the study, Galapagos tested the effectiveness of the antibiotic in a drug known as CAM-1. The medication eliminated 250 strains of bacteria that it was tested against.

Galapagos has entered the antibiotics in a clinic to test its effectiveness in treating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterial infection that is prominent in hospitals.

"Selection of a candidate antibiotic in our MRSA development program is an important step toward realizing the full potential of our unique anti-bacterial program," said Piet Wigerinck, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Galapagos, as quoted by the news source. "Our antibiotics have a novel mode of action which brings all tested MRSA strains to a complete halt. Combined with a diagnostic test, these compounds could bring a real solution to MRSA infections."

MRSA diagnosis and symptoms... Full Story

Embryo-preserving gene may help fight chronic diseases
Date: 2012-11-26 23:30:26

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia recently discovered that the presence of a gene known as Arih2, which usually functions to preserve embryos, may help combat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis as well as blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, Reuters reported.

"If the gene is on, it dampens ... the immune response. And if you switch it off, it greatly enhances immune responses," lead investigator Marc Pellegrini, M.B., B.S., B.Sc., told the news source via telephone. "It is probably one of the few genes and pathways that is very targetable and could lead to a drug very quickly."

While Arih2 was originally discovered in fruit flies by another group of scientists, Pellegrini and his colleagues took an interest in the gene because they believed it had implications for immune system functioning. According to Reuters, the researchers extracted the gene from adult mice and they found that its absence increased the activity of the animals' immune systems.

The vigilant immune systems in the mice were effective for six weeks, but eventually they attacked the animals' bodies. Pellegrini noted that further research on Arih2 may help produce an effective drug treatment that can combat a plethora of infectious and autoimmune diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates that by the end of 2009, nearly 1,148,200 individuals were living with HIV, which can be diagnosed with a blood test, and that almost 50,000 people in the U.S. contract the virus annually. In that same year, the source notes that there were approximately 16,000 new hepatitis C infections reported in the United States, while nearly 3.2 million people are currently living with the ailment in the U.S.

... Full Story

Social media can help decrease rates of infectious diseases
Date: 2012-11-28 17:31:50
A recent study conducted by researchers at Kansas State University (KSU) found that social media sites can help stop the spread of infectious diseases like influenza by increasing the awareness of preventative measures like vaccines and hygiene, reported Medical News Today.... Full Story

New mRNA influenza vaccine may be more effective in mass treatment
Date: 2012-11-27 17:19:08
New Scientist magazine reported that a new kind of influenza vaccine derived from mRNA was recently discovered that may provide quicker and more effective inoculations.... Full Story

Ebola virus may be airborne
Date: 2012-11-16 17:28:46
A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports revealed that Ebola may be transmitted in the air. This was discovered after Canadian researchers found that monkeys were contracting the disease from pigs without coming into direct contact with them, reported BBC News.... Full Story

Two studies analyze the cost of HPV vaccines in low-income countries
Date: 2012-11-14 18:04:33
Two new studies in Tanzania helped reveal the cost of providing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to developing countries and the most cost-effective method of delivering the vaccines to young women.... Full Story

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