Health Highlights: May 28, 201305/28/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Supreme Court Won't Hear Planned Parenthood Case
The U.S. Supreme Court will not step into Indiana's dispute with
Planned Parenthood. This means the state cannot deny Planned
Parenthood Medicaid funds on the basis that its medical services
include abortions. Medicaid is the joint federal-state health
insurance program for the poor.
The high court will not hear Indiana's appeal of a lower court
ruling that supported Planned Parenthood, the
Associated Pressreported. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals ruled that the state exceeded its authority when it decided
to strip Planned Parenthood of the taxpayer funding.
The Supreme Court justices did not comment on their decision,
More than a dozen states have sought legislation to prevent
organizations that provide abortions from receiving public money,
the news service said.
French Man Dies From Virus Related to SARS
A French man has died of the new respiratory virus that is
related to SARS, and just as deadly.
Associated Pressreported Tuesday that the death is the first
in that country.
There have been cases in Britain and Germany, but most of the
people who have been diagnosed with the virus in the past year had
traveled to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Pakistan, according to
the wire service.
This latest coronavirus is related to SARS, a virus that killed
about 800 people back in 2003.
The Frenchman died Tuesday, and his hospital roommate has also
tested positive for the disease, the French Ministry said.
In an update earlier this month, the World Health Organization
said that 20 of the 40 confirmed cases of this novel disease have
resulted in death, the
'Nanoparticle' Flu Vaccine Could Be an Advance
Scientists have used nanotechnology to create a flu vaccine that
may be quicker to develop and more adaptable to changing flu
"This is, I believe, an important advance," Dr. Tony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News.
Researchers at the institute developed the new vaccine, which is
made of nanoparticles that self- assemble under laboratory
conditions into an "impostor" of the flu virus. This method gets
around the traditional method of using a weakened form of live
virus that's then grown laboriously over a period of months in
chicken eggs, the researchers said.
Use of live virus makes the flu shot's effectiveness less
predictable, since the pathogen mutates constantly.
The new technology uses a piece of the flu virus called
hemagglutinin, which is then fused with a piece of a compound
called ferritin that naturally forms nanoparticles. These
nanoparticles end up resembling the hemagluttinin found on the
"They look like flu. They react with [immune system] antibodies like flu," researcher Dr. Gary Nabel told NBC. Nabel, who now works for vaccine maker Sanofi, worked at NIAID previously and helped develop the new vaccine. His team reported their findings in the journal Nature.
According to Nabel, without the need to grow virus in chicken
eggs, the speed at which seasonal vaccines could be created would
be drastically reduced -- perhaps to just a week or two.
And Fauci said such vaccines might protect against a wide
variety of flu strains.
"To me, this is an important step toward the development of a universal flu vaccine," he told NBC. "The definition of a universal flu vaccine is it covers wide range [of virus strains] and you wouldn't necessarily need to get a new one each year."
So far, the new shot has worked in ferrets, which are considered
close models to humans in terms of their reactions to flu.
Researchers are working on a version that could work in people.
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