MEDICAL JOURNALVol 115 No 1161 ISSN 1175 8716 Scientists create polio virus from scratch
Researchers in New York have created infectious polio viruses from ordinary, inertchemicals obtained from a scientific mail-order house, marking the first time afunctional virus has been made from scratch and raising a host of new scientific andethical concerns.
A massive vaccination program sponsored by the World Health Organization aims torid the world of polio by 2005 and has eliminated it from all but a handful ofcountries. But the latest work indicates that polio and perhaps other viral ailments –including some with bioterror potential such as smallpox – can be made from rawmaterials and so may never be eliminated.
Aspirin shown to reduce risk of pancreatic cancer
Aspirin, already known to reduce the risk of colon cancer, may also prevent cancer ofthe pancreas.
In a seven year study of more than 28 000 postmenopausal women aged 55 to 69 whowere participants in the Iowa women’s health study, the risk of pancreatic cancer was43% lower in women who took aspirin or products containing aspirin than in womenwho did not (relative risk 0.57 (95% confidence interval 0.36 to 0.90)). The moreoften that women took aspirin, the lower their risk of the cancer (Journal of theNational Cancer Institute 2002;94:1168-71).
Eurocrats perk up on Viagra
The long list of perks enjoyed by Eurocrats is already the stuff of legend:outrageously low tax rates, chauffeur-driven BMWs, three-hour lunch breaks and, forMEPs, their own in-office showers.
But to the undoubted horror and bemusement of Eurosceptics, the officials in Brusselseveryone loves to hate have just been given another “fringe benefit” to perk them up:a cut-price monthly ration of Viagra.
“We can claim for Viagra but only for so much,” a spokesman from the EuropeanCommission conceded this week. “However, I haven’t felt the need to claim anymyself.” To age or not to age?
Australians are living longer than ever before. At the end of the 20th century, 20% ofour people were aged 65 years or more and 1% were aged 85 years or more; at the beginning of the century these figures were 4% and 0.01%, respectively. With deathrates continuing to fall, life expectancy will inevitably increase. Indeed, the worldrecord, currently 122 years and five months, is predicted to reach 150 years.
New law in Germany compensates patients for drug side-effects
The German government passed new legislation on Aug 1 that will make it easier forpatients who have adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to get compensation frompharmaceutical companies.
The new law shifts the responsibility for an ADR back to the drug firms so that toreceive compensation, patients no longer have to prove that a drug caused anunexpected side-effect. From now on the drug manufacturer, to avoid payingcompensation, must prove that the adverse effect was not produced by its product.
To prove liability, patients must identify medical evidence proving that the drug cancause an ADR. To help potential claimants, the new law gives patients the right tomake enquiries about adverse effects before starting legal action. The manufacturerand licensing agency will be obliged to respond with complete disclosure.
Antiretroviral-drug resistance among newly HIV-infected patients
In a study of 377 patients with newly acquired human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)infection in 10 cities in North America, the prevalence of antiretroviral-drugresistance increased from 3.4 percent in 1995 through 1998 to 12.4 percent in 1999through 2000. The frequency of multidrug resistance at presentation also increased,from 1.1 percent to 6.2 percent. After initial antiretroviral therapy was administered, ittook longer to achieve viral suppression in those who were infected with resistantvirus, and the time to virologic failure in these patients was shorter.
The frequency of drug-resistant virus is increasing among patients with newlydiagnosed HIV infections, reflecting a higher rate of transmission of resistant virus.
Drug-resistance testing before treatment is now indicated even for patients who arenewly infected and have never received antiretroviral therapy.


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La Guerra popular en la India como parte de la lucha anti-imperialista. Compañeros y compañeras,amigos y amigas,en nombre de la Alianza contra la agresión imperialista saludamos a todos los asistentes a la presente Conferencia, a todos ustedes que han participado en la campaña preparatoria de la misma, y, a todos los compañeros que por limitaciones y dificultades materiales no pueden esta

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