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Sanofi says LixiLan diabetes drug trials meet targets

France's Sanofi said on Sunday that two late-stage Phase III clinical trials of its LixiLan diabetes drug had met their targets, readying it for approval in the United States in August and Europe early next year. LixiLan consists of a single-injection combination of Lyxumia, a drug developed with Danish drugmaker Zealand Pharma, and Sanofi's Lantus. It targets patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.

More urgent action needed on air pollution in Britain – MPs

By Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) – A government plan to tackle air pollution in five major cities in Britain by 2020 will not be enough and more urgent action needs to be taken, lawmakers said on Wednesday. Britain has some of the highest levels in Europe of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide, which is produced by diesel vehicles, and has already breached EU limits. Last year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it would introduce so-called clean air zones in areas of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton by 2020 in a bid to improve air quality.

Swiss biotech Actelion hits record high on potential Shire bid

Shares in Actelion , Europe's biggest biotech company, jumped 10 percent to a record high on Monday after a report Shire was considering a $19 billion takeover of the Swiss group to boost its rare diseases business. Shire, which is based in Ireland but has most operations in the United States, is a serial acquirer in a consolidating healthcare sector, which has seen a record $253 billion of deals so far this year. An informal approach by Shire was rebuffed several weeks ago by Actelion, according to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper, citing unidentified financial industry sources.

African Union pledges Ebola fund, as Oxfam calls for ‘Marshall Plan’

The African Union plans to launch an Ebola Solidarity Fund, officials said Wednesday, as aid agency Oxfam warned the continent's leaders needed to keep their promises to boost healthcare. Oxfam called for a “massive post-Ebola Marshall Plan”, referring to the United States aid package to rebuild Europe after World War Two. “This disaster might have been avoided if African governments had made free public health care and spent more on their health systems, under the commitment they made 14 years ago in the Abuja Declaration,” Oxfam said in a statement. “It's clear that Africa’s existing architecture for early disease detection, response and control is wholly inadequate,” Oxfam added, calling for the AU to approve its own plans for an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Industrialisation, WWI helped fuel TB spread

A virulent group of TB germs spread from East Asia in waves propelled by industrialisation, World War I and Soviet collapse to yield some of the drug-resistant strains plaguing the world today, a study said Monday. It evolved into several sub-lineages and strains, spreading eastward to Micronesia and Polynesia and westward to central Asia, Russia and eastern Europe. Among the toughest modern-day versions — two multi-drug resistant (MDR) clones, started spreading through eastern Europe and Asia on an epidemic scale about 20-30 years ago, “coinciding with the collapse of the public health system of the former Soviet Union,” study co-author Thierry Wirth of France's National History Museum told AFP.

Bird flu found in UK, Netherlands but authorities say little risk to humans

By Anthony Deutsch, Costas Pitas and Sybille de La Hamaide AMSTERDAM/LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – Bird flu was found on a duck farm in England on Monday days after it was discovered in Dutch chickens, forcing authorities to destroy poultry and restrict exports, although it was not a strain known to be deadly to humans. Health officials said the outbreak may have been brought to Europe by wild birds migrating from Asia where millions of South Korean farm birds have had to be destroyed. …