The Health News – 16 October 2015

Overview:
• Ms Cafferkey a British nurse who was successfully treated for Ebola in January after contracting the virus in Sierra Leone is now “critically ill” due to a resurgence of the virus, the hospital treating her says. Her sister Toni said doctors diagnosed her with a virus on Monday, but sent her home, missing an opportunity to act quickly.

• The two Australian scientists Professor David Craik from the University of Queensland and Professor Marilyn Anderson working on genetically modify plants to produce medicines to treat a range of diseases, from HIV to cancer they won last night the biennial Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award and they have been awarded $1 Million to make the concept a reality.

• Modern humans may have occupied southern China at least 30,000 years earlier than previously thought. Archaeologists have found 47 Homo sapiens teeth closely resembling our own, dated from 80,000-120,000 years old, in a cave in Hunan province, according to a letter published in Nature.


News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th October 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-15/british-ebola-nurse-now-critically-ill-hospital/6855478

A British nurse who was successfully treated for Ebola in January after contracting the virus in Sierra Leone is now “critically ill” due to a resurgence of the virus, the hospital treating her says.

Ms Cafferkey was taken to the specialist unit in London — the only one of its kind in Britain — last week after being admitted to a hospital in Glasgow on Tuesday when she felt unwell.

Her sister Toni said doctors diagnosed her with a virus on Monday, but sent her home, missing an opportunity to act quickly.

Health officials have contacted and are monitoring 58 people who have been in close contact with Ms Cafferkey, 40 of whom have had direct contact with her bodily fluids — the main mode of Ebola transmission.

Of the 40, 25 are receiving a vaccine and a further 15 have either declined it or were unable to receive it due to existing medical conditions.

Ms Cafferkey was diagnosed with Ebola in December, after returning to Glasgow from Sierra Leone.

She spent almost a month in the isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital and was treated with an experimental anti-viral drug and blood from survivors of the Ebola disease.

Details of her condition have not been disclosed for reasons of patient confidentiality.

Doctor Ben Neuman, a lecturer in virology at the University of Reading, said earlier that Ms Cafferkey could be only the second known case of “reactivated” Ebola.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-14/scientists-trying-to-grow-medicines-win-prize/6852200

Two Australian scientists working to genetically modify plants to produce medicines … [to] treat a range of diseases, from HIV to cancer, have been awarded $1 million to make the concept a reality.

Professor David Craik from the University of Queensland and Professor Marilyn Anderson from La Trobe University last night won the biennial Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award, one of the biggest awards in Australian science.

The pair are working to discover peptides, which are mini proteins from plants, and then trying to redesign them as drugs to treat illnesses including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and cancer.

Professor Craik said the “bio-drugs” would be cheap, more potent, and with fewer side effects than regular pharmaceutical drug[s].

Professor Anderson said the fact that the medicines would not have to be kept refrigerated, they do not have to be injected, they could be easily transported, or people could grow them themselves.

The pair hope to conduct human trials of their bio drugs in ten years, starting with treatments for cancer and pain.

Professor Craik said pain affected more than 35 million people worldwide, and even the best-selling drugs on the market only work in a third of patients.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-15/earliest-modern-humans-in-southern-china/6854486

Modern humans may have occupied southern China at least 30,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Archaeologists have found 47 Homo sapiens teeth closely resembling our own, dated from 80,000-120,000 years old, in a cave in Hunan province, according to a letter published … in Nature.

The discovery adds a new chapter to the story of modern human migration, suggesting that our genetic ancestors were not the first H. sapiens to populate east Asia.

Until now, the earliest fossil evidence of H. sapiens further east than the Arabian Peninsula was been dated at 40,000-50,000 years ago, from Northern China, Borneo, and Lake Mungo in southwest New South Wales.

While the researchers did not find any other human bones or stone tools at the Hunan province site, they did uncover a large number of teeth from other animals, including five extinct large mammals such as an ancient elephant and an ancestor of the giant panda.

Researchers said the discovery also showed modern humans were living in southern China 30,000-70,000 years earlier than they were found in Europe.

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