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Will the 2018 flu vaccine be effective against the deadly virus?

It is a high-stakes gamble with thousands of lives on the line. Yet twice a year, every year, the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) bets on the flu — which virus types are likely to dominate in the coming season. On this basis, a vaccine is prepared months in advance. “We cannot say for sure which virus will be circulating,” said Wenqing Zhang, head of the WHO’s global influenza programme. “What we’re doing is based on the best possible surveillance information and analysis, and basically to bet, or to project,…

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China warns Donald Trump against approving US-Taiwan travel bill

“The so-called bill you mention, though not legally binding, severely violates the ‘one China principle’ as well as joint US-China communiques,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said. BEIJING: The Chinese government on Friday warned that the US-Taiwan travel bill, which would allow US officials to travel to Taiwan for diplomatic missions, would severely damage ties between Washington and Beijing. The warning coincided with the deadline for US President Donald Trump to sign the bill into law or reject the legislation, Efe news agency reported. “The so-called bill you mention, though not legally binding, severely…

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Moms-to-be, take note. European experts advise against epilepsy drug in pregnancy

An expert committee of Europe’s medicines watchdog recommended Friday that a drug used to treat epilepsy and linked to malformations in children not be used in pregnancy. The compound, valproate, is also used for migraine and bipolar disorder, and doctors already advised against prescribing the medicine for pregnant women in France. France’s medicines regulator, known by the acronym ANSM, asked the London-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) to conduct a risk review. The EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) said in a statement Friday it was recommending that valproate not be…

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3,800 Mumbai parents protest against fee hike, write to CM demanding refund

Stepping up their attack against schools flouting norms pertaining to fee hike, parents wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday and demanded it roll back claiming that it violates the Maharashtra Educational Institutions Regulation of Collection of Fee Act, 2011. They also demanded refund of the amount already paid. Parents staged a day-long protest at Azad Maidan on Sunday against the exorbitant fee hike by schools for the upcoming academic session. This is the second protest by parents in the past two months. Though it saw a low turnout…

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The Case Against Butter and Meat: They Can Double Your Risk of Diabetes

It seems unfair that most food items that we cherish so dearly are not really the best for our health. Take butter for instance, or even meat. The flavour of a steak done in butter or even a hot toast slathered with a generous spread of the fat makes it taste so good. But then again, health experts would always advise you against indulging in too much of it. While the debate seem to continue on whether saturated fats – such as butter – is good or bad for health,…

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Genetically-engineered mosquitoes give hope against dengue

In a first, researchers have genetically engineered mosquitoes that have an increased resistance to infection by the dengue virus. After decades of research and countless control attempts, dengue continues to infect an estimated 390 million people around the world each year. Now, researchers report that mosquitoes carrying dengue virus (DENV) can be genetically engineered, giving an increased resistance to infection by the virus. When a mosquito bites someone infected with DENV, the virus needs to complete its lifecycle in the mosquito’s gut, eventually infecting its salivary glands, before it can…

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