30 October – 5 November 2017

Joy Lawn and Anna Seale lead the first global study showing the impact of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection on pregnant women which estimates it causes 150,000 stillbirths and infant deaths every year, and that an effective vaccine may prevent 231,000 infant and maternal GBS cases. The research is covered widely around the world by at least 300 outlets, including the Guardian where Joy comments: “Vaccines are the way to go. They are on the way but it is going to be probably a five-year time horizon. The process needs to be accelerated.” South China Morning Post, Deccan Chronicle (India), IOL (South Africa) and Science Daily (US). Channel 5 News and the BBC World Service also cover the story.

“People who regularly use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – common drugs used to treat acid reflux – are twice as likely to develop the cancer” reports The Daily Mail which includes comment from Stephen Evans: “The absolute risk is small. All effective drugs have unwanted effects, usually adverse, so it is possible that PPIs have gastric cancer as one on those unwanted effects, and this paper offers some possible evidence for this, but is by no means proof of a causal effect.” Stephen is also quoted by The Independent, The Irish Sun, and The Guardian.

The plague outbreak in Madagascar continues to gather media attention, with Jimmy Whitworth’s earlier quotes to The Daily Mail repeated in new stories based on WHO’s update. The Sun, Express, International Business Times and New Zealand Herald also run stories. Jimmy speaks about the outbreak to BBC World TV and on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC2 (Jimmy’s interview starts at ~1h40 Note: this will only be available to watch within the UK and until the 1st December 2017): “Plague is eminently treatable with antibiotics….and there is exit screening going on at ports and airports but what is absolutely key is there is good vigilance in other countries.” To help reinforce the messages Jimmy gives to the BBC, we also published an expert comment on the School’s website, which received interest on social media.

The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change shows that climate change is already having an effect on global health. Both Andy Haines and Paul Wilkinson are co-authors of the report, which was covered by a number of outlets, including CNN (US) and The Guardian. Paul says: “Air pollution is known to cause millions of early deaths every year but the new report highlights the 800,000 annual deaths related solely to coal burning. The good news here is that coal production peaked in 2013 and is now falling. We are seeing the first turn [in the trend] but we have a long way to go. It is a health dividend we are ignoring if we do not act.”

Rates of new gonorrhea diagnoses among Australians rose 63% in just five years, reveals a new report on the nation’s sexual health. Matthew Chico provides comment for CNN: “This is particularly concerning is that we are rapidly facing the day when gonorrhea is no longer treatable due to antimicrobial resistance.”

After one local health authority in the UK announced controversial plans to ban access to routine, or non-urgent surgery under the NHS, CNN Philippines speaks with Martin McKee. He says: “The NHS is a service that is meant to be free at the point of delivery and every person should be judged as an individual.”

Congratulations to Sharon Peacock, who is awarded the Unilever Colworth Prize, given to researchers who have made a significant contribution in the field of microbiology. The news is covered by ITV News (Anglia).




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