June 2009


Influenza pandemics are rare events, but recurrent. In any case, the authorities of the world body have insisted that you can still minimize the impacts of this outbreak of swine flu, although it has been verified its transmission from person to person. Phase One: The influenza virus circulating among animals and not reported the transmission […]

A tsetse fly that transmits sleeping sickness has a penchant for lizard and pig odour – a preference that could be used to produce traps to control fly populations. Sleeping sickness, or African trypanosomiasis, affects around 300,000 people a year in Africa and can be treated only with toxic and hard-to-administer drugs. Scientists are investigating […]

The new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) continues giving bad informs of chilling not only on inequalities in life expectancy, but in many areas of basic character such as access to drinking water or medical care. WHO stresses that the global health situation is improving but, in view of similar data, there seems […]

The media can help in the global fight against disease, both as a watchdog for poor practices, and a champion for successful research. Significant progress has been made in recent years by, for example, using bednets to control malaria, or antiretrovirals for HIV/AIDS. Yet many of the challenges remain as daunting as they were in […]

Climate change kills 300,000 people annually and represents an economic cost of 125,000 million dollars (90,000 million euros), according to a report of the Global Humanitarian Forum headed by Kofi Annan presented in London. The publication of this study, which is backed by several institutes and international agencies, is part of a strategy that seeks […]

Old-growth forests are falling victim to rubber plantations in China – and scientists have calculated the environmental consequences. Rubber prices have tripled in the past decade and China plans that by 2010 it will be producing a third more rubber than it was in 2007 in order to feed its booming automobile and tyre industries. […]

Replacing traditional stoves in Africa and Asia with low-soot varieties would buy time in the fight against climate change. But the acceptability of such new stoves to the rural poor is an obstacle. Black carbon has newly emerged as the second biggest contributor to climate change. It is responsible for an estimated 18 per cent […]

Different promising drug development strategies are emerging in the fight against tuberculosis (TB) continues to claim that nearly two million lives each year worldwide, mainly in developing countries. As the bacterium – Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) – evolves to resist anti-TB drugs, and patients find it difficult to stick to existing drug regimes the search is […]

Water management programmes across the developing world are based on the mistaken belief that trees increase the available water in an area. Forests tend to diminish water supplies because they lose more water through evaporation than other vegetation, say the researchers. In wet climates, this is because of the ‘clothesline’ effect: just as wet clothes […]

Dense pig populations, such as those found in food factories, allow viruses to spread and evolve very quickly. The current swine flu outbreak originated in the small town of La Gloria, Mexico, which lies next to one of the country’s biggest pig factories. The factory’s owner, Smithfield Foods, claims their herds are healthy – but […]

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