14 – 20 March 2015

Kaye Wellings appears on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze (at 25m) to discuss the issues and evidence around what children should be taught about sex at school: “If we just present a picture of disaster, doom and disease we’re just going to turn young people off… what sex education has to do, is not to protect against risk but to try to provide some of the skills that help them manage them… There is a way of doing this without constantly focussing on the negative. I think if you go broader and take a step back from this adverse situations and think in terms of what you can do in getting across ideas of respectful relationships between people, concepts of self-esteem, your own ability to manage a situation, then that’s quite a positive thing. It’s going to make sure that you have good relationships and it’s going to guard against exploitation… It’s a pity that young people feel they have to grow up so quickly, but I don’t think the blame can be laid at the door of sex education….”

Peter Piot in a Telegraph magazine feature discussing his co-discovery of Ebola, his pioneering Aids research, his passion for Japanese food, and his hero, Tintin: “In 1996 treatment for HIV became available (it’s not a cure but it is no longer a death sentence). But in Africa it was still too expensive – about $14,000 per person per year. I became fairly obsessed with bringing the price down, but I also didn’t want to kill innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. We did it. Today that same treatment is available for $200 per person per year – mostly made by manufacturers in India.”

Martin McKee co-authors a letter to the Guardian in response to criticism by the employment minister, Esther McVey, of his recent study into sanctions for those on jobseekers allowance: “She then cited a department report that, she claimed, showed that the true figure for those moving to employment following sanctions was more like 70%. We have since obtained this report under freedom of information rules. Unlike our study, which uses data to 2014, it is based on a survey from 2011, before the aggressive use of sanctions became widespread. It deals with all those leaving jobseekers allowance, with only 12% of the sample “told no longer eligible/benefit stopped”, a group that “may also include those who experienced sanctions”, but this number is not reported.”

A New Scientist article on antibiotic resistance includes comments from Richard Smith, who says there must be global efforts among doctors to conserve antibiotics.

Ron Behrens is quoted in a Daily Mail article about insect bites: “Some people have a terrible allergic reaction to insect bites and their bodies produce an inflammatory response in the way of swelling and fluid accumulation around the bite area. I have seen people with a blister the size of a fist from one mosquito bite – that is serious swelling and serious fluid. These allergic reactions can irritate the skin so much that the urge to scratch them is uncontrollable. If you break the skin, you could be laying yourself open to serious infections such as septicemia (blood poisoning) or cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin.” James Logan’s research is also mentioned in the piece.

The Guardian covers research led by the Burnet centre for biomedical research in Melbourne, with co-authors from the School, to unlock the strategy the immune system needs to use to target and kill malaria organism. Also covered by the Sydney Morning Herald which leads to nearly 140 pieces of regional coverage in Australia including Brisbane Times and the Newcastle Herald.

Honorary Prof Philip James speaks to the Guardian about a new report (from The Coronary Prevention Group and World Obesity Federation) which claims the government is not series about improving Britain’s diet: “We have identified 200 opportunities for taking a grip on UK food supplies and helping consumers, especially those on lower incomes, to make healthier choices.”

Mike Okal (PhD student at the School) is quoted in Times of India discussing his work which has found that a naturally occurring chemical attracts pregnant malaria-transmitting mosquitoes – a discovery which could boost malaria control efforts: “We found the mosquitoes were more than twice as likely to lay eggs in water infused with this particular soil than in water fresh from Lake Victoria.” Also covered by other sites including Medical News Today and Asia News.

The Verge covers an editorial by Bill Gates on infectious disease preparedness in the New England Journal of Medicine. The story mentions an editorial by Peter Piot and Jeremy Farrar in NEJM last year, in which they describe the global response to Ebola as ‘highly inadequate and late’.

New Vision covers research from the School and partners which shows incidence of malaria in rural Uganda is on the increase, contrary to the global trend of a decline in cases. Also covered by outlets including Medical News Today and Voice of America.

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