By John Miller ZURICH (Reuters) – Novartis is closing some of its research operations in Switzerland and China and cutting 175 jobs, part of the Swiss drug maker's effort to centralize control over its drug discovery programs and contain costs. Novartis, which employs 120,000 globally, is also relocating its tropical disease research arm from Singapore to California. The Basel-based company is consolidating research oversight within its Swiss headquarters and the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) near Boston, now headed by Jay Bradner.
By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) – The mosquito-borne Zika virus can lead to extensive birth defects that go beyond microcephaly, a Brazilian study suggests. Researchers studied 11 babies diagnosed with Zika and found they had a range of neurological impairments including small skulls and brains as well as an underdeveloped cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for motor skills, and an absence of normal folds in the cerebral cortex, the gray matter that handles memory, language, social skills and problem solving. “Microcephaly is not the only thing that happens with fetal Zika infection,” said senior study author Dr. Amilcar Tanuri, a researcher in the laboratory of molecular virology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
The Associated Press-GfK poll on health and the presidential race was conducted by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications Sept. 15-19. It is based on online interviews of 1,694 adults, including 1,476 registered voters and 1,251 likely voters, who are members of GfK’s nationally representative KnowledgePanel.
By Padraic Halpin DUBLIN (Reuters) – Thousands of protestors marched in Dublin, and Irish expatriates joined in demonstrations around the world on Saturday, to put pressure on the Irish government to hold a referendum to repeal restrictive abortion laws. Regulations in the once stridently Catholic Ireland are among the strictest in the world and next month Prime Minister Enda Kenny will call a citizens' assembly to advise the government on whether a vote should be held to boost access to abortion. Demonstrators marched in the rain on government buildings from Dublin's main thoroughfare of O'Connell Street, bringing traffic to a standstill by the River Liffey as they chanted, beat drums and held placards saying “My Body, My Choice”.
ZURICH (Reuters) – Novartis cancer drug Zykadia showed positive results in a phase III clinical trial in treating patients with a form of lung cancer, the Swiss drugmaker said on Friday. Zykadia, whose generic name is ceritinib, displayed significant improvement in progression-free survival compared to standard chemotherapy in previously untreated patients with advanced anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive non-small cell lung cancer, it said. …
By Anastasia Moloney BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Unequal access to health services and poor quality care for pregnant women is hampering progress in meeting international goals for eradicating deaths during childbirth, researchers said on Thursday. U.N. member states agreed a year ago to reduce the rate of maternal mortality, defined as a woman’s death during pregnancy, childbirth or within 6 weeks after birth, to fewer than 70 per 100,000 live births globally by 2030 as part of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Globally maternal deaths have nearly halved since 1990 – falling to 216 women dying of maternal causes per 100,000 live births in 2015 from 385 per 100,000 in 1990.
SINGAPORE (AP) — More than 40 people have been infected locally by the Zika virus in Singapore, but most have fully recovered, officials said Sunday.
By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) – The mother of the only giant panda twins in the United States may soon deliver a second set of twins, Zoo Atlanta said on Tuesday, capping off an eventful month for lovers of the fluffy black and white bears across the globe. Three years ago, mother bear Lun Lun gave birth to female cubs Mei Lun and Mei Huan, who are still at the Georgia zoo but could be returned this fall to China, which owns them, zoo spokeswoman Rachel Davis said. An ultrasound on Monday confirmed that Lun Lun, who turns 19 years old on Thursday, is once again pregnant with twins, the zoo said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As the Zika virus escalates into a public health crisis, members of Congress remain entrenched politically, with Republicans and Democrats pointing fingers over the failure to act as the number of mosquito-transmitted cases in the U.S. grows.
MIAMI (AP) — The mosquitoes spreading Zika in Miami are proving more difficult to eradicate than expected, the nation's top disease-fighter said as authorities sprayed the ground-zero neighborhood, tipped over kiddie pools and handed out cans of insect repellent to the homeless.