Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Experts fear China reluctant to accept WHO ground mission
China is dragging its heels in accepting help on the ground from international health specialists, diplomats and experts said on Thursday, noting four days after a World Health Organization (WHO) advance team arrived in Beijing no details have been released on how and when the full mission will deploy.
China has recorded 48,206 cases of a new coronavirus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, which emerged in a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan in December. The virus has spread to 24 countries infecting more than 440 people, the WHO says.
Gilead drug prevents type of coronavirus in monkeys; raises hope for China trials
An experimental Gilead Sciences antiviral drug prevented disease and reduced the severity of symptoms in monkeys infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), an infection closely related to the fast-spreading coronavirus that originated in China, a study published on Thursday found. The results, reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, raise hope that the drug, remdesivir, currently in clinical trials in China, might be effective against the new virus that has infected some 60,000 people globally, and killed more than 1,300, mostly in China.
Fake flyers and face-mask fear: California fights coronavirus discrimination
A flyer in Los Angeles' Carson area, with a fake seal of the World Health Organization, tells residents to avoid Asian-American businesses like Panda Express because of a coronavirus outbreak. A Los Angeles middle schooler is beaten and hospitalized after students say he is as an Asian-American with coronavirus. And over 14,000 people sign a petition urging schools in the Alhambra area to close over coronavirus risks, even though there is only one case of the virus in Los Angeles County, with its population of 10.1 million.
Indian generic drugmakers may face supply shortages from China if coronavirus drags on
Shortages and potential price increases of generic drugs from India loom if the coronavirus outbreak disrupts suppliers of pharmaceutical ingredients in China past April, according to industry experts. An important supplier of generic drugs to the world, Indian companies procure almost 70% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for their medicines from China.
China reports 5,000 new coronavirus cases, cruise ship disembarks in Cambodia
China's coronavirus outbreak showed no sign of peaking with health authorities on Friday reporting more than 5,000 new cases, while passengers on a cruise ship blocked from five countries due to virus fears finally disembarked in Cambodia. News of the first death from the virus in Japan rattled Asian markets, already on edge after hopes that the epidemic was stabilizing appeared to be dashed by a sharp rise in the number of cases on Thursday.
Air pollution may aggravate nasal suffering with colds and seasonal allergies
People who get rhinitis - an inflamed or congested nose - from colds or allergies may feel much worse if they're exposed to high levels of air pollution, a recent study suggests. Rhinitis usually involves some combination of congestion, sneezing, nasal irritation and sometimes a reduced sense of smell, and it affects up to half of the world's population, the study team writes in Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.
Trans patients may struggle to access breast cancer screening
At a time when a growing number of transgender Americans are getting gender-affirming treatments to make their bodies match their identity, breast imaging centers may not be changing to meet their needs. Approximately 1.4 million U.S. adults identify as transgender today, double the number a decade ago, researchers note in the Journal of Breast Imaging. And while it's still not clear how gender-affirming treatments like hormones or surgery might impact breast health, most doctors agree that transgender people have unique screening needs.
Japan to step up efforts on coronavirus testing, containment after first death
Japan on Friday vowed to step up testing and containment efforts for the coronavirus after suffering its first death and the confirmation of new cases, including a doctor and a taxi driver. Japan's health ministry said Thursday that a woman in her 80s living in Kanagawa prefecture, west of Tokyo, had died. She had been transferred between hospitals as her condition worsened and she was only confirmed to have had the coronavirus after her death.
High lifetime number of sexual partners linked to increased cancer risk
People who have had 10 or more sexual partners during their lifetime may have increased odds of being diagnosed with cancer, a new study suggests. Women, in particular, had nearly twice the risk when they had 10 or more past partners compared to when they had one or none, researchers report in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.
Spike in China virus cases doesn't show big shift in epidemic: WHO
The spike in cases reported from China reflects reclassifying a backlog of suspect cases using patients' chest images and not necessarily the "tip of an iceberg" of a wider epidemic, a top World Health Organization official said on Thursday. Mike Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies program, said that more than 13,300 cases reported in Hubei province overnight came after a change to include results from quicker computerized tomography (CT) scans that reveal lung infections, rather than relying on laboratory tests.