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HighlightsHighlights Archive

Media Monitoring: 21st – 28th May

Imperial partners with laboratory in DR Congo for Rapid Polio detection

  • Late detection of poliovirus transmission is one of the greatest risks to polio eradication. Imperial developed a method for rapid detection of polio
  • Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the team developed a method for the direct detection of poliovirus in stool samples and environmental surveillance samples
  • Not only significantly reducing laboratory testing time, this method allows for on-site sequencing. Delays with international transport of samples are avoided and sample to outcome is reduced to days instead of weeks


20% of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis cases in children could be averted by household testing and treatment

  • New modelling study suggests that testing household contacts and preventive treatment could avert almost 4,000 deaths in children under 15 globally every year
  • It also estimates that tracing household contacts of those with MDR-TB is very likely to be cost-effective in most places with a high prevalence of TB
  • The researchers say this study could be a turning point in showing the effectiveness of this strategy in terms of its low costs and substantial impact in preventing illness and death


G7 health ministers unite to protect world from another pandemic

  • A landmark pact signed by G7 health ministers in Berlin will help ensure the world is better prepared for future pandemics
  • The G7 Pact for Pandemic Readiness will see the UK, USA, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy work more closely together – and with relevant multilateral organisations like the World Health Organisation – by sharing the best of their Covid inspired initiatives, including those on surveillance and rapid response
  • Commitments were also made by health ministers to tackle the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance AMR – infections caused by bacteria resistant to antibiotics – including exploring a range of market incentive options which will encourage pharmaceutical companies and others to fund research and trials for new antibiotics


Checks for prostate cancer hit all-time high on back of NHS and charity awareness campaign

  • Record numbers of men are getting checked for prostate cancer thanks to a lifesaving awareness raising campaign
  • Urgent referrals for urological cancers reached an all-time high in March this year, with almost 25,000 people (24,331) checked in just one month, following a campaign launched by the NHS and Prostate Cancer UK in February
  • More than half a million people (550,000) checked their risk of developing the disease online during the six weeks of the campaign with men deemed high risk encouraged to visit their GP to get checked out


Government on track to deliver 26,000 more primary care staff by 2024

  • There are now over 18,200 more people working in general practice in March 2022 compared to March 2019, and nearly 30,000 overall
  • The additional staff form part of multi-disciplinary teams within primary care, working alongside GPs to care for patients with complex needs, reducing pressure on GPs and increasing capacity
  • The government continues to support general practice and injected £520 million to improve access and expand GP capacity during the pandemic, on top of the previously announced £1.5 billion to fund general practice recruitment and retention schemes


Groundbreaking study identifies global dynamics of Antibiotic Resistance

  • An international team of scientists, including Professor Robert Beardmore of the University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute, used mathematical modelling to extract antibiotic resistance patterns from 6.5 million datapoints collected worldwide
  • The researchers examined a host of datasets from medical companies and health agencies to identify patterns in how antibiotic resistance changes
  • A key factor in the fight against resistance lies in the patterns that highlight where outbreaks might occur, and for what ailments. These new techniques provide a pivotal tool for this, finding new ways of extracting antibiotic resistance patterns from many millions of datapoints


At-home blood test for juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease to be trialled

  • The new trial will be the largest ever study of juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease (JoHD), supported by a new £1.6 million grant from the Medical Research Council, their largest ever grant for JoHD research
  • JoHD is an ultrarare and aggressive form of Huntington’s disease (HD) where symptoms develop before the age of 21 and progress more rapidly than adult-onset HD
  • In a study just published in the journal Movement Disorders, Dr Byrne has shown that a blood test measuring a protein called Neurofilament light (NfL) has potential as a biomarker for JoHD

Natalie Creaney