This week’s NHS new round-up features reports that a new “transformative” HIV prevention pill is to be offered by the NHS following a High Court battle. Elsewhere, the British man who helped stall the cyber attack on the NHS has been arrested and is due to appear in a US court.
Also, we’ll talk about the news that scientists have successfully freed embryos of a piece of faulty DNA that causes deadly heart condition to run in families.
HIV Prevention Pill
The NHS have been given the green light to offer a new HIV prevention pill following a High Court battle. The treatment, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, will be provided to an initial 10,000 people during a three year trial.
The pill, called Truvada, is to be taken before sex and has been shown to reduce the chance on contracting HIV in high-risk individuals by around 86%. The pill will be offered through sexual health clinics in London, Brighton, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield from early September. Other clinics will then join the trail in October, with the full trial scheduled to be up and running by April next year.
In The Independent’s article, Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens said that the new drug:
“Should complement and supercharge the wide-ranging and increasingly successful effort to prevent HIV. It’s another milestone in more than three decade’s worth of progress in tackling one of humanity’s major health challenges.” – Simon Stevens
In total it is expected that NHS England will spend a total of £10m on the trial.
Cyber-Security researcher to appear in court
The British cyber-security researcher who helped stall the WannaCry cyber-attack on the NHS will appear in a Las Vegas court later today (04/08/17) after being charged in a US cyber-crime case.
Mr Marcus Hutchins, originally from Devon, was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday and is accused of being involved with Kronos – a piece of malware used to steal banking logins from people’s computers.
The Department of Justice are alleging that he created and sold this piece of malware on internet forums, including the AlphaBay dark web market which has recently been shut down.
The WannaCry attack spread rapidly through computer systems around the globe once it was unleashed on May 12, attacking big companies such as the NHS. Mr Hutchins was able to find a way to prevent it from spreading further.
For more on this story please visit the BBC News website.
Scientists make embryo breakthrough
For the first time scientists have successfully freed embryos of a piece of faulty DNA that causes deadly heart disease to run in families. This breakthrough could open the door to preventing around 10,000 disorders that are passed down generations.
The US and South Korean team focused their work on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common disorder which affects one in every 500 people. This is caused by an error in a single gene and a person who carries the disorder has a 50-50 chance of passing it down to their children.
In the BBC News article, Dr Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a key figure in the research team, said:
“Every generation on would carry this repair because we’ve removed the disease-causing gene variant from that family’s lineage. By using this technique, it’s possible to reduce the burden of this heritable disease on the family and eventually the human population.” – Dr Shoukhrat Mitalipov
Ethical concerns regarding the experiment results can be found on the BBC.