Today’s top health stories: 23 February
February 23, 2015
The first rapid test for Ebola
Today the World Health Organization (WHO) approved a test for Ebola that can give results within 15 minutes, unlike the standard laboratory turnaround time of 12-24 hours.
Named ReEBOV and developed by U.S. firm Corgenix Medical Corp, the new Ebola test is easier to perform than pre-existing options and does not require any electricity. Although ReEBOV is not as reliable as current screening kits, it is able to accurately identify about 92 percent of infected patients and 85 percent not infected.
ReEBOV requires a drop of blood on a small paper strip and after 15 minutes a reaction in the test tube reveals the results. Critics are warning that the test can result in a dangerous false negative or positive and a follow-up standard laboratory test is recommended.
Eating disorders cost the UK more than £15bn a year
Anorexia, bulimia and other such eating disorders are costing the country more than £15bn a year, according to a report by accountancy and professional services firm PwC.
PwC say that their calculations, which were made by adding together the financial burden on sufferers, their carers and the lost income to the economy, highlight the inadequate treatment options available to eating disorder patients in the UK and its economc impact.
If diagnosed early enough, eating disorders can be fully treated. However, according to the report almost half of eating disorder patients have to wait at least six months to receive treatment.
More funding is expected to be invested in treating eating disorders, with the government vowing to fund £150m into young people with eating disorders and stating a commitment to lower waiting times next year.
WHO call for smart injections to be used by 2020
A new smart syringe, which breaks after a single use to prevent the spread of diseases, should be used for injections by 2020 according to The World Health Organization (WHO).
The smart syringes prevent the user from pulling the plunger back after an injection, meaning that it cannot be used again. Diseases like HIV and hepatitis are spread to more than two million people each year as a result of reusing syringes, meaning that the smart syringe is an easy way to combat the spread of disease. It is also impossible for healthcare professionals to accidentally prick themselves with a smart syringe.
The World Health Organization have said that smart syringes are more cost effective than traditional syringes, despite being more expensive, due to smart syringes stopping the need to treat diseases caught as a result of reused needles.