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Weekly News Summary – 25th September 2017

Welcome to this week’s edition of the News Summary blog. This week’s latest edition covers news from the 18th to the 24th of September and keeps you up to date with the main stories relating to health and medicine. This week the World Health Organisation has issued a global health emergency as there are not enough new antibiotics to combat increasing drug resistance. New research indicates that incorporating exercise into daily activities is more beneficial than scheduled exercise and scientists have engineered an antibody that can attack 99% of strains of HIV.

The World Health Organisation have indicated that not enough new antibiotics are being developed to combat drug-resistant strains of bacteria. Currently, new antibiotics are modifications of existing antibiotics so they only provide a short-term solution to antibiotic-resistant infections. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have highlighted it as a global health emergency. Some experts have even predicted that resistant infections could become a bigger burden on the NHS than cancer. At present, approximately 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis, HIV and malaria. Some studies indicate that resistant infections could kill as many as 10 million people by 2050. The warning indicates the need for doctors to limit the prescription of unnecessary antibiotics as well as the need for the development of new antimicrobials.

A study published in the Lancet this week found that incorporating physical activity into everyday activities is more likely to protect you from heart disease than going to the gym. Participants in the study who opted to take the stairs, walk to work and add exercise into their daily routines were more likely to reduce their risk of heart disease and early death than those who complete just 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week. The reason for this is thought to be because those who are more active in their day-to-day life had higher activity levels overall than individuals who work out regularly.  

Researchers have developed a super-antibody that can attack three critical parts of the HIV virus and prevent infection in primates. Human trials of the new antibody are scheduled to go ahead in 2018 to see if it can also prevent and treat infections in the human population. The new treatment consists of a broadly neutralising antibody which attacks a structure fundamental to HIV, as currently the human’s own antibodies struggle to fight the infection as HIV mutates regularly.  

Words: Joelle Booth

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