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UK charity to boost AIDS vaccine research

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's National AIDS Trust announced plans Wednesday for a new initiative to boost research and development for a vaccine against the HIV virus. The charity said it was joining forces with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative to ensure that a preventive vaccine against the killer virus is found and will be available in the developing nations where 90% of new cases are occurring. The project, which will be based in London, will campaign to increase public and commercial investment in vaccine development in Europe and the developing world. "Finding an effective vaccine is the only long-term solution to the AIDS epidemic," said Derek Bodell, director of the trust. See full story


2-drug combo best for treating hepatitis C

BOSTON (Reuters) - A two-drug combination works better at stopping the deadly liver disease hepatitis C than treatment with just one drug, according to two studies in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. Hepatitis C accounts for more than 90% of hepatitis cases. The virus can lurk in the body for years, causing liver disease, liver failure or, in 5% to 10% of the cases, liver cancer. The virus afflicts more than 100 million people around the world. Most of those have no symptoms, although they can pass the blood-borne virus to others. The two drugs used in the new studies were interferon alfa-2b, sold under the brand name Intron A, and ribavirin, sold under the brand name Rebetron. Schering-Plough Corp. makes both. See full story


Study says some bladder infections resist drugs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new study suggests a painful, recurring bladder condition might be caused by a single lingering infection rather than by a series of new ones as scientists had thought, researchers said Thursday. Urinary tract infections affect seven million people annually in the United States, mostly women. Symptoms include frequent and painful urination as well as fever and can usually be treated with antibiotics. But a team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis showed these antibiotics may be less effective in some cases because of bacteria able to burrow deep into cell tissue and hide out in the bladder. See full story


U.S. surgeons correct fetal spina bifida in womb

LONDON (Reuters) - American surgeons say they have corrected spina bifida in a 23-week old fetus in the womb, allowing the baby to be born with normal leg movements. In a letter published in The Lancet medical journal Friday, doctors from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania said repairing the condition early can prevent nerve damage. Spina bifida affects one in 2,000 live births. Because of a lack of bone and skin over the spine, the nerves of the spinal cord are exposed and can be damaged. Many children born with the condition are paraplegic and also suffer from hydrocephalus, or fluid on the brain. See full story



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