18 – 24 April 2015

James Logan on the front page of the Telegraph discussing his new study carried out on twins which reveals that the likelihood of getting bitten by mosquitoes could be down to our genes: “By investigating the genetic mechanism behind attractiveness to biting insects such as mosquitoes we can move closer to using this knowledge for better ways of keeping us safe from bites and the diseases insects can spread through bites. If we understand the genetic basis for variation between individuals it could be possible to develop bespoke ways to control mosquitoes better, and develop new ways to repel them.” The story generates more than 590 pieces of coverage around the world including BBC News, TIME Magazine, The Week, NBC News, Daily Mail, NPR, The Times, IndependentLA Times, Voice of America, Sky News, Xinhuanet, Mirror, Express, and commercial radio stations across the UK (including Heart). Co-author Mandela Fernandez-Grandon appears on London Live.

Brian Greenwood in The Guardian discussing the final trial results of the world’s most advanced malaria vaccine: “We have to say this is an imperfect vaccine, but it did do something. It protected the older children for four years against uncomplicated malaria and severe malaria, which is a very nasty illness, by about a third. In the younger ones it didn’t do so well. That was one lesson we learned. The second lesson from this trial, which is new, is that we knew the effect of the vaccine wanes quite quickly – over a year or two – but if you give a booster dose you can bring it back again. The children who had the booster dose did much better over the four years. But then it began to wane again, so it wasn’t as if giving the booster dose protected you through the rest of your childhood.” Brian Greenwood is interviewed on Sky News, BBC World News TV, BBC World Service Radio, BBC News Channel, ITV News, Al Jazeera, Associated Press TV, Arise News TV, SABC Channel Africa, Globo News (Brazil) and BBC Radio 5 Live as well as speaking to The Times (paywalled), BBC News Online, Associated Press, AFP, Wall Street Journal, and El Mundo. Covered by more than 300 news titles worldwide including Reuters, The Independent, Times of India, Washington Post, IFL Science and Daily Mail.

Mark Petticrew speaks to the Guardian about his new study which found evidence of attempts by the tobacco industry to reinterpret Islamic teaching to make smoking acceptable to Muslims: “You couldn’t make it up’ comes to mind… The thing that jumps out at me from all this is the fact that we had tobacco industry lawyers actually developing theological arguments. That was pretty surprising.” The research is also covered by outlets including the National Post ()Canada), Yahoo News (Canada), and Al Arabiya.

Colin Sutherland on BBC Health Check about his new study that found early indicators of the malaria parasite in Africa developing resistance to the most effective drug. He is also quoted by Medical Xpress: “Our findings could be a sign of much worse things to come for malaria in Africa. The malaria parasite is constantly evolving to evade our control efforts. We’ve already moved away from using quinine to treat cases as the malaria parasite has become more resistant to it, but if further drug resistance were to develop against our most valuable malaria drug, artemisinin, we would be facing a grave situation.”

Harparkash Kaur talks to Reuters and Thomson Reuters Foundation about a rigorous analysis by ACT Consortium of antimalarial drug quality in Cambodia and Tanzania which found no evidence of fake medicines: “The lack of falsified medicines in Cambodia and Tanzania are reassuring, but the presence of substandard medicines is definitely a concern.” Also covered by Le Monde and Vaccine Daily News. Study author Shunmay Yeung speaks to the Phnom Pehn Post (Cambodia).

Martin McKee in the Guardian commenting on new research by Kings College London into frequency of e-cigarette use and quitting smoking: “[The papers] certainly serve as a very serious challenge to the view expressed stridently by the supporters of e-cigarettes that they are some remarkable disruptive innovation that will radically change tobacco control. Given the other concerns, not addressed by this study about the toxicity of long-term inhalation of nicotine and the flavourings contained in these products, it seems that the precautionary approach adopted by public health authorities in many countries remains justified.”

Peter Piot in the New York Times discussing some evidence suggesting that the Ebola virus may have been present in the West African rain forest for years before the recent outbreak: “My gut feeling [is that the evidence points to] infection before the current epidemic.”

David Baker speaks to SciDev.net about why he is sceptical about a herbal tea which is about to start clinical trials to see if it is useful in combatting malaria: “It’s not good enough just to reduce [parasites in the blood]. You really need to clear malaria completely, or you need to find something else that will clear it up.”

Research in Germany cover the announcement that Peter Piot has been awarded the Robert Koch Gold Medal for his work on the worldwide prevention of infectious disease.

Matthew Chico speaks to Channel Africa Radio about pregnancy and malaria.

Mark Jit is interviewed on SABC Channel Africa about vaccines.

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